AGARTALA, March 28 - Pre-poll politics in Tripura took an interesting turn with the Opposition Congress attempting to lure away the regional IPFT, which is an ally of the BJP in the coalition Government of the State. However, the IPFT is understood to have spurned the Congress overtures.
Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee president Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, accompanied by veteran INPT leader Bijay Kumar Hrangkhawal, had called on Revenue Minister and IPFT supremo NC Debbarma at the latter’s residence to persuade him to leave the ruling coalition and lend support to the Congress.
According to a WhatsApp message transmitted by Pradyot Kishore and circulated widely, the purpose behind his move was “not to allow the Tiprasa vote to be divided” to facilitate the victory of his sister, Pragya Kumari, from the East Tripura (ST) Lok Sabha seat.
The most important aim, as mentioned by Pradyot Kishore in his WhatsApp message, was to secure the IPFT’s support to stop the BJP “which is for the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.” The Tripura Congress chief ended his message on a sorry note: “Sadly our words for unity have been rejected by the IPFT. Sometimes we are our worst enemies”.
Even though the IPFT will contest the Parliamentary polls, as announced by the party leadership during a media interaction, it is more or less clear by now that the party’s basic aim is to protect its support base in the tribal areas rather than winning the seat or severing ties with the BJP in the coalition Government.
The IPFT’s political base has already taken a beating due to the pre-Assembly poll rejection of their demand for ‘Twipraland’ by the BJP, growing rift within its rank and file, and the series of developments triggered by the Madhabbari firing incident on January 8.
According to political observers, the ‘friendly contest’ idea mooted by the IPFT for the Parliamentary election is not aimed at rocking the coalition Government but is intended to protect its base from further erosion.