Tripura election: Crack shows up in IPFT over alliance with BJP

One faction has said that it will partner with the ruling party for the upcoming polls; TIPRA chief says several IPFT supporters want to join him

Updated - September 28, 2023 02:45 pm IST

Published - January 28, 2023 10:26 pm IST - Agartala

File image shows supporters of IPFT party in Agartala.

File image shows supporters of IPFT party in Agartala. | Photo Credit: Ritu Raj Konwar

A crack has surfaced in the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, the junior partner of the ruling BJP in the northeastern State, with one faction announcing a decision to ally with the BJP for the upcoming Assembly election.

However, IPFT president and State Minister Prem Kumar Reang and some senior leaders of the party who had earlier sought a grouping with TIPRA (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) remained incommunicado to both the BJP and TIPRA.

“Looks like Operation Lotus is on,” TIPRA chief Pradyot Debbarma commented on Twitter. He said that IPFT leaders were “surprisingly not picking their calls since 11 a.m.” Later in the day, he tweeted, “Many calls coming from everywhere! Reports of thousands of IPFT supporters joining us.”

Mr. Debbarma and top leaders of the regional party were busy in meetings at the royal palace here to finalise the list of TIPRA candidates. The list will be announced any time, an aide of Mr. Debbarma said.

For the first time in the election history of Tripura, all major political parties, including the CPI(M), the BJP and the Congress — are facing the heat over nominations. The Left front’s alliance partner Congress is facing protests after it announced a list of 17 candidates and is likely to announce another a set of candidates soon.

The CPI(M) has replaced the party’s two veterans Aghore Debbarma and Manik Dey — both former Ministers — citing “health issues” with new faces. Earlier, the party had lost its MLA Moboshar Ali to the BJP. Mr. Ali will now be contesting on the lotus symbol from his Kailashahar constituency.

Party offices vandalised

The BJP’s selection of candidates in some constituencies — Kadamtala-Kurti, Bagbassa and Chandipur — of north Tripura was met with protests. Supporters of local candidates vandalised party offices and tore up flags and festoons.  

The BJP had announced two lists of 54 candidates and fielded all current Ministers. Minister Ram Prasad Paul who did not feature in the first list appeared in the second list.

The ruling party is yet to announce a candidate against Congress heavyweight Sudip Roy Barman in the Agartala constituency. The party is reportedly considering former Trinamool State president Subal Bhowmik, who joined the BJP recently, as a challenger to Mr. Barman.

Congress workers too staged demonstrations against the party’s choice of candidates at Dharmanagar in north Tripura and Matarbari in Gomati district. The protesters gave a 12–hour deadline to the party leadership to change candidates and threatened to resign from the party.

Friction in Left alliance

The Congress has demanded that its alliance partner, the CPI(M), withdraw some candidates . The Congress said it was ready to hold talks to find a solution over the seat-sharing issue. “We are ready for a discussion. But we want the Left to withdraw its candidates from our strongholds,” Sudip Roy Barman told reporters.

For the first time, the Congress has not fielded any Muslim candidate, while the BJP and the Left front have put forward two candidates each from the community.

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