A week after it posted a comfortable win in Tripura, the BJP is learnt to have reached out again to tribal party Tipra Motha, which emerged as the big story in this Assembly election by winning 13 seats.
The BJP won 32 seats in the February 16 election and its ally, Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura, won 1. This puts it firmly in the driving seat in the 60-member Assembly.
But, while the BJP may not need Tipra Motha’s support to hold Tripura, the new party’s stellar show in its first election contest seems to have raised the ruling party’s concerns for the 2024 general election.
A senior BJP leader told NDTV that the leadership is keen to get the Tipra Motha onboard. “We feel that if Tipra Motha remains in the Opposition, it will be a formidable Opposition both inside and outside the assembly. In the 2024 election, BJP wants to win big and bag maximum seats in the Northeast. But in Tripura’s tribal areas, Tipra Motha may be our main challenger. So we want to resume talks,” the BJP leader said.
According to sources, the Union Home Ministry may appoint an interlocutor for the talks with Tipra Motha.
Talks between the BJP and Tipra Motha, led by former royal Pradyot Manikya Debbarma, in the run-up to the polls had fallen through over the tribal party’s demand for a separate state ‘Greater Tipraland’.
The BJP leader said that the party continues to be against the statehood demand. “We are dead against the core demand of a separate Tipraland. We can talk about a Constitutional solution to the issues raised by the tribal party.”
The 13 MLAs of Tipra Motha and top leaders, including Mr Debburma, are expected to meet Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP chief JP Nadda in Agartala today after Manik Saha is sworn in as Tripura Chief Minister for the second time, according to sources. The sources said the party has set three ministerial berths aside for Tipra Motha.
Mr Debbarma, a former state Congress chief, has repeatedly stressed that he would happily sit in the Opposition than compromise on his party’s core demand for a ‘Greater Tipraland’.
“Till the time we don’t get an honourable Constitutional solution for our people, we will not be a part of any government. We will play a constructive role as the first indigenous party which has 13 MLAs for the interest of the people,” he said in a social media post Tuesday.
“We cannot be looking after our individual interest over our communities. I will wait for the official response from the Govt of India on how they would like to see the future of our tiprasa in the next decade,” he added.
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