IPFT claims huge response for its strike in Tripura tribal areas

Coalition partner wants its party activist, arrested for attack on the ruling BJP’s Khumulwng office, released.

July 09, 2020 08:43 pm | Updated 08:43 pm IST - Agartala:

The Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), a ruling coalition partner of the Bharatiya Janata Party in the State, claimed that its call for a 24-hour general strike within the limits of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) on Thursday had evoked a huge response.

The regional political party called the strike to demand the release of its member, who was arrested in connection with the attack and burning of a BJP party office at Khumulwng, headquarters of the TTAADC, earlier this week.

Sporadic clashes

The incident led to sporadic clashes between supporters of both parties at Khumulwng, 18km east of Agartala, resulting in a huge deployment of security personnel in the area. State BJP President Dr. Manik Saha and Member of Parliament Rebati Mohan Tripura escaped unhurt during one of the clashes.

Normal life and business was paralysed in most areas under the TTAADC. No incidence of violence reported from anywhere, the police said.

The present tension was seen as a ploy by both the coalition partners to establish influence in tribal areas ahead of elections to the TTAADC. Polls to the 28-member house, due since the expiry of tenure of the Communist Party of India-Marxist-led council in May, were postponed without setting a new timeline owing to the present coronavirus ( COVID-19 ) pandemic.

As a temporary arrangement, former chief secretary G. K. Rao has been made administrator of the council.

TTAADC elections

Differences between the IPFT and the BJP widened after both announced their decision to fight TTAADC elections without forging an alliance. The BJP argued that the IPFT’s organisation in tribal areas had collapsed and it [the IPFT] had lost its potential as a party to reckon with.

The IPFT on the other said that if the BJP was not interested in a deal, it would fight the TTAADC poll alone and that it had the strength to defeat any party. BJP leaders termed the claim to be “far from reality”.

The IPFT is reportedly angry with its coalition partner after its demand to make Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia as administrator of the council was rejected. The party also approached Governor Ramesh Bais, constitutional head of the TTAADC, to press its demand, but to no avail.

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