Tripura polls: TIPRA announces list of 20 candidates 

Eight of these seats are beyond the party’s “comfort zone” within the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council 

Updated - September 28, 2023 02:46 pm IST

Published - January 29, 2023 08:30 pm IST - Guwahati

Image used for representative purpose only. File

Image used for representative purpose only. File | Photo Credit: A.M. Faruqui

Hours after being checkmated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA Motha) on Saturday night announced its list of 20 candidates, eight beyond its “comfort zone” straddling areas under a tribal council. 

TIPRA Motha is headed by Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, the Tripura royal scion who said no member of the royal family, including him, would contest the February 16 election

Mr. Debbarma had been trying to forge a pre-poll alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a minor ally of the BJP and had reportedly held a closed-door meeting with the regional party’s leaders in Guwahati a few days ago. 

The speculations about a possible Motha-IPFT alliance began doing the rounds after three of the eight IPFT legislators quit over the past few months to join Mr. Debbarma’s party. 

But on Saturday, the BJP and IPFT refreshed their pre-poll alliance of 2018 with 55 seats to be contested by candidates of the former and five of the latter. The IPFT got half the number of seats it was allotted five years ago in the areas under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC). 

The development came after Mr. Debbarma, in a video message, said the TIPRA Motha and IPFT agreed to start a process of becoming a “singular party” and fight the election with a “singular flag and symbol” against anyone opposed to the “constitutional demand” of “Greater Tipraland” State. 

Greater Tipraland comprises all areas within and beyond the TTAADC that were once under the Tripura kings. 

In a last-ditch attempt, Mr. Debbarma tried to stall the BJP-IPFT alliance. He called almost all IPFT leaders but none of them responded. “…Been waiting to hear from them since 11 am! Looks like Operation lotus is on!” he tweeted on Saturday. 

Tripura has 60 seats, 20 of them reserved for the Scheduled Tribes within the TTAADC, the domain of both the IPFT and the TIPRA Motha, which has been on the ascendancy after winning the tribal council elections in 2021. 

However, by announcing the names of candidates for 12 of the 20 ST seats, the TIPRA Motha conveyed its long-term plan of becoming a pan-Tripura party. Of the eight seats beyond the TTAADC where the party has fielded candidates, six are in the general category and two are reserved for the Scheduled Castes. 

The TIPRA Motha is expected to announce another list for the remaining eight seats in the TTAADC. 

The BJP was interested in stitching an alliance with the TIPRA Motha but refused to give a written assurance that the Centre would grant Greater Tipraland. 

The TIPRA Motha had set Greater Tipraland as the precondition for any pre-poll alliance, either with BJP or the Left Front-Congress combine.

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