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Battered but INPT to keep flag fluttering

Agartala, March 18: The Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT) has announced its resolve to remain in the state’s politics despite major setbacks in the 2008 and 2013 Assembly elections.

In the 2008 Assembly poll, the INPT managed to secure just one of the 11 seats allotted to it by the Congress. Party president Bijay Hrangkhawl scraped through by a margin of only 117 votes from the Kulai (ST) seat. But in the just-concluded election, INPT lost in all the 11 seats that it contested as the Congress’ partner.

After intense discussion in the party’s executive committee, the INPT leadership announced in an interaction with the media that the main cause of the debacle suffered by the party was fragmentation of anti-Left votes because of the presence of the BJP and another regional party, the IPFT, in the fray.

But for the BJP and IPFT taking away part of the anti-Left votes, we could have won in at least five of the 11 seats we contested; these include seats contested by party secretary Rajeshwar Debbarma in Takarjala and Bijay Hrangkhawl in Ambassa,” said INPT general secretary Jagadish Debbarma.

He also attributed the party’s debacle to the inordinate delay in finalising seat adjustment with the Congress and lack of support from it in election campaigns. “We do not wish to blame our bigger partner but the fact remains that despite our best efforts the Congress leadership here inordinately delayed the finalisation of seat adjustment formula and in the process we lost precious time for campaigning. Also, because of the orchestrated vilification campaign of the CPM portraying us as ‘mask of militants’, we lost a portion of the traditional non-indigenous votes that we used to get earlier,” said Jagadish Debbarman.

He, however, said regionalism, which was represented by the INPT, was still relevant to Tripura’s politics and the party would keep its flag fluttering. “Only a regional party can politically represent the aspirations and hopes of the small sections of indigenous people in Tripura, which is dominated by non-indigenous people. We still remain relevant as far as protecting the interests of minority indigenous people is concerned; no national party can be a replacement and we will continue to play our assigned role though we are certainly not against any section of people. In fact, to dispel certain misconceptions spread by the CPM against us, we have given up our demand like inner-line regulation which of course is not enforceable now,” he said.

He added that a central committee meeting of the INPT would be convened soon to discuss the party’s performance and shortcomings that have recently come to the fore. “We will be facing more elections in local bodies now almost every year up to early 2016; so, we need to plug all the loopholes in our organisational network and this will be done in a phased manner,” Jagadish Debbarman said.