Sources said the BJP central leadership has been persuading the TIPRA Motha to join the government but its chief didn’t agree to get in, until given a written commitment for the constitutional solution of their Greater Tipraland demand. The TIPRA Motha has been demanding a separate state, Greater Tipraland, for the tribal people of Tripura.
According to sources, Shah’s meeting with TIPRA Motha will also discuss finding a constitutional solution to the demand. The ministry of home affairs is likely to appoint an interlocutor to guide the solution-finding process, said sources.
On the day Debbarma extended his wishes to the newly appointed chief minister, Dr Manik Saha, even as he claimed that he had received many calls from the BJP to join the government but declined the offer to seek a constitutional solution to tribal issues. “I have made my position clear that if they can’t do anything for our demand (and if we join them) then there will be no difference between the TIPRA and Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT which is BJP ally). We want to end the miseries of the 14 lakh indigenous population, not two-three ministerial berths,” he clarified.
Wishing the Hon Cm of Tripura @DrManikSaha2 the very best . May the state prosper and one under the blessings of Ma… https://t.co/EQqmXLtj20
— Pradyot_Tripura (@PradyotManikya) 1678257822000
However, three ministerial berths in the new state cabinet have been kept vacant for the TIPRA Motha, which emerged as the second-largest party this election, should they agree to join the government, according to sources. On the day, Dr Saha took oath as the chief minister of Tripura, along with eight ministers.
He also tweeted later that “Tipra has not compromised”.
Tipra has not compromised ! Wait and watch https://t.co/8CdeJTmtHm
— Pradyot_Tripura (@PradyotManikya) 1678256255000
On Sunday, the TIPRA Motha had said it was ready to sit with the BJP for a “face-to-face meeting” to find a “constitutional solution” to Tiprasa people’s problems, a day after Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is also convener of the BJP-led NEDA (equivalent to NDA in the northeast), stated that the party’s concerns should be addressed through dialogue.
A day later, he reiterated they will not be a part of any government “till the time we don’t get an honourable constitutional solution for our people”.
Till the time we don’t get an honourable constitutional solution for our people we will not be a part of any Govern… https://t.co/regoTcs9fC
— Pradyot_Tripura (@PradyotManikya) 1678168312000
Maharaja Pradyot Bikram Debbarma, the sole heir to the 800-year-old Manikya dynasty in Tripura – the last princely state to merge with India – has been fighting for a homeland for the state’s tribal natives. And, to some extent he won his first battle, albeit a political one, with his party Tipra Motha, which was born in 2021 itself, finishing just behind the BJP in its debut outing this election. It gave the saffron party a run for its money in the 20 tribal-reserved seats, for the second time in less than two years, riding the tribal statehood demand.
In the year of its birth, Motha had swept the tribal autonomous council election, defeating the BJP, Congress and Left in one go. “We are the second largest party so we will sit in the constructive opposition but will not sit with CPM or Congress. We can sit independently. We will help the government as and when they need,” the ‘Bubagra’ (king in tribal language Kokborok) said.
This time, Motha won 13 the 20 tribal-reserved seats, while the BJP had to be content with six. The IPFT, which is also a tribal-based party and ally of BJP, managed to win just one.