Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said on Saturday that talks between the BJP and the Tipra Motha, which emerged as the second largest party, could resume but only on the condition of an “undivided Tripura”. This was Sarma’s first visit to the state after the BJP retained power in the northeastern state this week.
“This is a great victory and a reaffirmation of confidence in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The (BJP) karyakartas of Tripura worked very hard and we are very grateful to them. We owe much of our gratitude to the wonderful people of Tripura,” the Assam Chief Minister told reporters.
On the possibility of resuming talks between the BJP and the tribal-based party, Mr Sarma, who led several rounds of negotiations with party leader Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, said talks could resume but provided Tipra Motha drops her demands for a separate stands.
The demand for Greater Tipraland was at the center of Mr Debbarma’s polling campaign. “Our party is equally distanced from the ruling BJP and the opposition CPM congressional alliance… I am not ready to compromise for the cause of Greater Tipraland,” he had said ahead of the main election.
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“Tipra Motha has raised certain issues for the development of the tribes. Without dividing the state of Tripura, we are ready to… talk to them and resolve the grievances of the tribes. But we cannot talk about Greater Tripuraland,” Himanta Sarma asserted.
Moreover, he said that Tripura would remain united and whatever needs to be addressed with regard to the central or state government level would be done. “That’s my opinion.”
The BJP had initially contacted Tipra Motha, but talks between the two sides broke down when the tribal party stood by its demand for a state and the BJP disagreed. The Home Secretary had even invited the Tipra regional party for talks on their demand for Greater Tipraland for indigenous communities, but Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma said that “unless we get written notice from the Government of India that our demands will be constitutionally met, I won’t do that”. form an alliance”.
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Sources at Tipra had said talks over the demand for Tipraland could include discussions on Article 244A of the constitution, direct funding for Tripura Autonomous Tribal Council from the center and increase of reserved tribal seats in Tripura from 20 to 30.
Regarding the government formation in Meghalaya and Tripura, the Assam Chief Minister, often referred to as the “Chanakya of BJP” in the region, said the swearing-in will take place in Shillong on March 7 and in Agartala the following day. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to both events, he added.
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