BJP Plans Ambitious Foray Into Tribal Areas Of Tripura

BJP Plans Ambitious Foray Into Tribal Areas Of Tripura

by Ujjawal Mishra - Thursday, July 28, 2022 04:11 PM IST
BJP Plans Ambitious Foray Into Tribal Areas Of TripuraTripura Chief Minister Manik Saha and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma

The BJP is planning a massive outreach in the tribal areas of Tripura and has set a target of winning at least 12-14 of the 20 seats reserved for tribals in the state assembly elections early next year.

Context: In the 2018 assembly polls, the BJP won 10 of the 20 seats, while its ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), won eight.

TIPRA Motha made a splash in April 2021 by winning 16 of the 28 seats in the elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council.

  • The outfit wants a separate state of ‘Greater Tipraland’ carved out of the tribal-inhabited areas of Tripura.

  • The BJP has alleged that the TIPRA Motha was propped up by the CPI(M) to counter the BJP.

What explains the timing: With just a little over six months left for the assembly elections — slated for February next year — the BJP has felt the urgent need to focus on tribal areas.

  • The BJP had an arrangement with the IPFT that the latter would win most of the tribal seats while the BJP would concentrate on the non-tribal seats.

  • But the IPFT has been wracked by dissent and desertions from its ranks.

  • Political analysts say there is little chance of the tribal party getting its house in order.

  • So now, the BJP has to step in and fight in the tribal areas on its own.

The BJP appears confident: Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, also a member of the erstwhile royal family, told Swarajya that the BJP’s Janajati Morcha has made “tremendous strides” in the tribal areas and has emerged as a major force.

  • “We have become very popular in the tribal areas and the tribals are fed up with the empty promises and violent ways of the TIPRA Motha. The Motha won a majority of the TTAADC seats in the April 2021 elections, but its popularity has waned since then and the BJP has emerged as a major force in the tribal areas,” he said.

  • Dev Varma met PM Modi in New Delhi (23 July) and said that the focus of the discussions was improving rural connectivity and ensuring round-the-clock quality power in the rural areas, including tribal areas.

The BJP has accused the TIPRA Motha of being in league with the CPI(M).

  • “The TIPRA Motha has been propped by the CPI(M) and is the communist party’s proxy. Why didn’t Pradyot Deb Barma ever raise the demand for greater ‘Tipraland’ earlier?" asked Union Minister of State for Social Empowerment and Justice, Pratima Bhoumik, who is the Lok Sabha MP from Tripura West constituency.

  • “TIPRA Motha’s Pradyot Deb Barma has been trying to mislead the tribals in the name of demanding a ‘Tipraland’ state," he added.

  • Tripura Information Minister Sushanta Chowdhury told Swarajya, “The CPI(M) wants to create disaffection amongst the tribals and shift the focus away from development by raising emotive issues like a separate state for tribals. The CPI(M)’s game plan is to alienate the tribals from the BJP through the Motha.”

What to expect: BJP leaders say some major projects aimed at developing the tribal areas and some welfare measures will be announced soon.

The development plan will, thus, be the BJP’s poll agenda in the tribal areas in the 2023 elections.

Ujjawal Mishra is a Staff Writer at Swarajya. He tweets @Ujjawal1Mishra.
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