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regular-article-logo Monday, 15 April 2024

Centre, Tripura government and Tipra Motha sign tripartite agreement to allay tribal woes

Terming the signing of the accord as a 'historic day', Shah said the Centre has honoured history, corrected past wrongs and accepted the present reality to proceed towards a brighter future

Umanand Jaiswal, Imran Ahmed Siddiqui New Delhi Published 03.03.24, 06:13 AM
Amit Shah being greeted by Tipra Motha chief Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma in New Delhi on Saturday.

Amit Shah being greeted by Tipra Motha chief Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma in New Delhi on Saturday. PTI

The Centre, the Tripura government and the state’s principal Opposition Tipra Motha party on Saturday signed a tripartite accord to bring a “lasting solution” to the problems faced by the tribals of the state.

The details of the accord, which was signed in the presence of Union home minister Amit Shah, are not immediately known. Sources, however, said it involved a time-bound study on issues of identity, language, land and political rights of the tribals.

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The accord-signing ceremony was held at the Union home ministry’s North Block office where Tripura chief minister Manik Saha and Tipra Motha supremo Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma were also present.

Terming the signing of the accord as a “historic day”, Shah said the Centre has honoured history, corrected past wrongs and accepted the present reality to proceed towards a brighter future. “I assure all stakeholders of Tripura that you won’t have to fight for your rights anymore. The government of India will be two steps ahead in creating mechanisms to safeguard your rights,” Shah said.

Tripura chief minister Manik Saha said the accord “is the need of the hour” and “important” given the situation.

The tripartite agreement is both a boost and relief for the ruling BJP in Tripura ahead of the Lok Sabha polls.

According to political observers, Tipra Motha founder Debbarma has been consistently maintaining that he will support any party that formally assures a constitutional solution to secure the future of the state’s tribal populace.

“With the BJP-led central and state government on Saturday committing to formally and amicably resolve all issues of the state’s indigenous people, there is no denying the fact the two parties have come closer with the accord, irrespective of whether the Tipra Motha joins the state government or extends support to the BJP-IPFT ruling alliance in the Lok Sabha polls,” one of them said.

The BJP will make accord its key poll plank in the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency, a ST reserve seat, currently held by the ruling party, but where the Tipra Motha is a strong force.

“BJP will project itself as the well-wishers of the tribal people by showcasing the accord, something the Motha can’t dispute, at least now,” the observer said.

Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats, Tripura East and Tripura West, both held by the party.

On Saturday, the BJP announced a candidate for Tripura West, fielding former chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb in place of Union minister of state Pratima Bhoumik.

The party has not named any candidate for the Tripura East seat, fuelling speculation about a possible change of candidate in that seat too or a plan to offer it to the Tipra Motha.

Two Tipra Motha leaders told The Telegraph that a decision on joining the government or supporting the BJP in the general elections will be decided in the next few days.

“Our leader will be reaching on Sunday and break his protest fast and then there will be discussion on our future course of action,” one of them said.

Debbarma had launched a fast-unto-death programme on February 27 with other leaders in support of Motha’s demand for Greater Tipraland and more financial power to the Motha-run Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, among others.

The BJP will also gain on the law and order front after the tripartite accord. Political observers pointed out that there was a line in the accord that “ties the hands” of the Motha from launching protest or agitation till the joint working group or committee works out and implements the mutually agreed points on all the issues.

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