Agartala: The differences between Tripura's ruling partners - Bhartiya Janata Party (BJP) and Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), have been gradually widening with the two parties to fight against each other in the upcoming politically significant Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections.
The dominant partner BJP and the junior ally IPFT are now in hectic preparation to wrest the control of the TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's 10,491 sq km area, home to over 12,16,000 people.
The 30-member (28 elected and two nominated by the state government) TTAADC, which is currently ruled by the opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), will go to the polls in April-May next year.
"We have informed the BJP's central and state leadership that we would either alone contest the TTAADC polls or field candidates on all 28 seats," IPFT General Secretary and Tribal Welfare and Forest Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia told IANS on Thursday. He said: "As the IPFT has a substantial base among the 1.2 million tribal population (out of the state's total four million populations) in Tripura, our party's claim to control the TTAADC is totally justified." Delegation of IPFT led by party President and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma met BJP's working president J.P. Nadda in New Delhi last week and informed him the party's decision. The IPFT, which has two ministers and eight legislators in Tripura, is also a constituent of BJP-led anti-Congress alliance Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Jamatia said that they have informed their decision to NEDA convener Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also.
The BJP and the IPFT had contested against each other in the Lok Sabha polls and elections to the three-tier Gram Panchayats and Municipal bodies earlier this year.
BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that though his party is yet to finalize the TTAADC election strategy, it is likely to fight most seats.
"The IPFT being an independent party has its own ideology. They are free to contest the TTAADC polls without any alliance with the BJP. However, they should also maintain the "Jot Dharma" (coalition principle), Bhattacharjee told IANS.
The TTTAADC was formed in 1985 under Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of the tribals, who consist one-third of the state's four million population. Since 1985, the TTAADC was mainly governed by the CPI-M, which has extensive base both among the tribals and non-tribals. (IANS)