Shillong, March 8: Tipra Motha’s rise as a political force is seemingly giving the BJP “a run for its money” in Tripura. It’s been a week since the four-year-old regional party led by royal scion Pradyut Debbarma positioned itself as the second largest party in the Assembly outmaneuvering the CPIM and Congress after bagging 13 seats in its debut.
The development has pushed the BJP, which won 32 seats in the recently concluded state elections to reach out to Tipra Motha.
According to sources, the saffron party’s fear stems from the fact that its attempt to woo tribals through its ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura has failed to bear fruit with IPFT winning just one seat.
The BJP despite surpassing the magic figure can not rest on its laurels. It may not need Tipra Motha’s support to hold Tripura, but concerns remain for the ruling party as the tribal party’s good show in its first election contest may put paid to its plans in the 2024 general election.
A senior BJP leader told The Shillong Times that the saffron party’s top leadership is keen for a ‘truce’ with the Tipra Motha.
“Ideally, no ruling party will want a formidable opposition like Tipra Motha which can fan regional sentiments and play divide and rule game. Our eyes are set on the 2024 general election and BJP wants to win big and bag maximum seats. Tipra Motha is certainly going to be our prime challenger in tribal areas. We’re open to talks with them,” a top BJP leader, who requested anonymity, said.
Another source said the Union Home Ministry may appoint an interlocutor to reach out to Tipra Motha. Just before polls, parleys between the BJP and Tipra Motha had failed over the tribal party’s demand for a separate state ‘Greater Tipraland’.
Earlier, the BJP leaders, including Himanta Biswa Sarma, tried to dissuade Pradyut from his statehood demand.
The Centre maintained that it is against the core demand of a separate Tipraland. The government spoke of a Constitutional solution to the issues raised by the tribal party.
The 13 MLAs of Tipra Motha and top leaders, including Debburma, met Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda in Agartala on Wednesday after Manik Saha is sworn in as Tripura Chief Minister for the second time.
Debbarma, a former state Congress chief, has repeatedly stressed that he would happily sit in the Opposition than compromise on his party’s core demand for a ‘Greater Tipraland’.
“Till the time we don’t get an honourable Constitutional solution for our people, we will not be a part of any government. We will play a constructive role as the first indigenous party which has 13 MLAs for the interest of the people,” he said in a social media post.
“My community’s welfare is my only interest. I want a clear picture of the future of our tiprasa in the next decade. We want a concrete step from the Centre,” he added.
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