Agartala: The Union government will soon appoint an interlocutor to study and resolve the demands of the Tipra Motha Party (TMP) within three months, the tribal-based party chief Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman said here on Wednesday after a meeting with Union Home Minister Amit Shah.
The TMP, after capturing the politically important Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) in April 2021, has been demanding elevation of the areas of the autonomous body by granting a ‘Greater Tipraland State’ or a separate state under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.
Deb Barman said that Shah has assured that like in the case of Nagaland, an interlocutor will be appointed to study and resolve the demands of TMP within three months.
“If we find satisfactory constitutional solutions to our demands, we would sign an accord with the Central government. Unless and until our demands are resolved, we will not join the BJP-led government in Tripura,” former royal scion Deb Barman told the media after a more than two-hour long meeting with Shah.
Besides Shah, BJP President J.P. Nadda, Assam Chief Ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha, and all the 13 TMP MLAs and senior leaders of the party were present at the meeting.
Later Deb Barman tweeted: “The Home Minister has initiated the process for a constitutional solution for the indigenous people of Tripura. An interlocutor for this process will be appointed and this will be done within a specific time frame.
“I thank the Home Minister for understanding the genuine problems of the sons of the soil. We successfully got our Bru people (Reang tribals) rehabilitated in our state after 23 years by signing the Bru accord and today we have started a huge dialogue to ensure that our survival and existence are protected. Issues such as alliance and Cabinet were never discussed, only the interest of our ‘dopha’ (demands) was discussed.”
After Wednesday’s swearing-in-ceremony of Chief Minister Manik Saha-led nine-member council of ministry, three ministerial berths remained vacant as the BJP has been approaching the TMP to join its government in Tripura.
After the meeting, BJP spokesperson Sambit Patra said that Tripura Chief Minister would hold a series of meetings with the TMP, BJP ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) and all concerned NGOs to identify the loopholes and issues and to undertake a holistic approach for the upliftment of the tribals.
At the meeting, it was decided that considering the International Women’s Day on Wednesday, two tribal woman leaders — Jayanti Debbarma (IPFT) and Patal Kanya Debbarma (BJP) — would be appointed in a board or PSU with Minister of State rank.
Both Jayanti Debbarma and Patal Kanya Debbarma unsuccessfully contested the February 16 Assembly polls in Tripura.
In the Assembly polls, TMP emerged as the second largest party after the BJP by securing 13 of the 20 tribal reserve seats, which are crucial in the electoral politics of Tripura.
The BJP won 32 seats, including six tribal reserve seats while its ally IPFT got one.
In the 2018 Assembly polls, the BJP had won 36 seats, including 10 tribal reserve seats while its ally IPTF had bagged eight tribal reserve seats. The CPI-M had won the two remaining tribal reserve seats.