The rift in Tripura’s ruling alliance between the BJP and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) resurfaced on Wednesday after the tribal partner said BJP could not have formed a government without its support.
IPFT general secretary and Tripura Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia told a press conference last evening that BJP came to power in Tripura due to support of the tribal party. “If IPFT did not support BJP in the Assembly elections, they could not have fared well in the polls. They could not have formed the government in Tripura,” Mevar said.
Mevar’s comments came close on the heels of Tripura BJP chief and Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s statement two days ago that the IPFT won eight Assembly constituencies due to the BJP’s support and a Modi wave.
The two parties had come to power in the state after the 2018 Assembly elections winning 44 seats in the 60-member Assembly.
Meanwhile, IPFT has blamed their own coalition government for cancellation of nomination of their candidate Shuklacharan Noatia.
“IPFT Lok Sabha contestant Shuklacharan Noatia’s candidature was rejected by the Election Commission due to the absence of Acts in state government undertakings which would override the clause of ‘office of profit’ and it was due to the failure of the state government,” Tripura Revenue Minister and IPFT supremo NC Debbarma said.
Noatia, who is the president of IPFT’s youth brigade, was nominated by his party to contest from West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency. He submitted his nomination paper on March 22. However, his nomination was cancelled under the clause of ‘Office of Profit’ since he is holding the post of chairman at Tripura Small Industries Corporation Limited (TSIC).
Later, MLA Brishaketu Debbarma’s nomination as the IPFT candidate was accepted during the scrutiny process.
On the issue, NC Debbarma said Shuklacharan’s candidature was cancelled due to the failure of state government, of which they are a partner themselves.
“There is no separate Act in the Commissions and state government undertakings for the post of chairperson. If such an Act was enacted, Shuklacharan Noatia could have been exempted from the clause of office of profit and he could contest in the Lok Sabha elections. This is the fault of state government”, NC Debbarma said.
Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats — East Tripura and West Tripura. The BJP and IPFT are contesting against each other in both seats.
IPFT supremo NC Debbarma is contesting against BJP candidate Rebati Mohan Tripura in East Tripura seat while Brishaketu Debbarma is contesting against BJP state general secretary Pratima Bhowmik in West Tripura constituency.
The two parties earlier engaged in a series of clashes over nomination of Block Advisory Committee (BAC) chairmen in April last year. A state-level monitoring committee and district monitoring committees were formed to quell discontent among the partners.
The allies also wrestled over Lok Sabha poll nomination and finally went separate ways as BJP unilaterally announced to stage candidates in all two Parliament constituencies in the state.
Meanwhile, Tripura Congress appealed IPFT to join hands against the division of anti-BJP votes but the appeal was rejected. Pradesh Congress president and royal Scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburma visited IPFT Chief NC Debbarma’s residence late evening yesterday to appeal him for withdrawing the tribal party’s candidates. “…urged him not to allow the tiprasa vote to be divided and join us to stop the BJP which is for the citizenship amendment bill. Sadly our words for unity have been rejected by the IPFT. Sometimes we are our own worst enemies”, Pradyot wrote on his Facebook page Thursday.