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, may resume but only on the condition of an “undivided Tripura”. This was Mr Sarma’s first visit to the state after the BJP retained power in the north-eastern state this week.
“This is a great victory and reaffirmation of faith in Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The (BJP) karyakartas of Tripura worked very hard and we are very grateful to them. We owe a lot of our gratitude to the great people of Tripura,” the Assam Chief Minister told reporters.
Talking about the possibility of talks resuming between the BJP and the tribal-based party, Mr Sarma, who led several rounds of negotiations with party supremo Pradyot Kishore Debbarma, said that talks could resume but on the condition that Tipra Motha drops its demands for a separate state.
The demand for Greater Tipraland has been central to Mr Debbarma’s poll campaign. “Our party is maintaining equal distance from the ruling BJP and the opposition CPM-Congress alliance … I am not ready to compromise for the cause of Greater Tipraland,” he had said ahead of the key election.
“Tipra Motha has raised certain issues for the development of the tribal people. Without dividing the state of Tripura, we are ready to … talk to them and resolve the grievances of the tribal people. But we cannot talk about Greater Tripuraland,” Himanta Sarma asserted.
Furthermore, 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 is my view.”
The BJP had initially reached out to Tipra Motha, but the talks between the two sides fell through when the tribal party stuck to its statehood demand and the BJP did not agree. The Home Minister had even invited the regional party Tipra for talks on their Greater Tipraland demand for indigenous communities, but Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma said that “unless we get in writing from the government of India that our demands will be met constitutionally, I will not form any alliance”.
Tipra sources had said the talks over the demand for Tipraland may include discussions on Article 244A of the Constitution, direct funding for Tripura tribal autonomous council from the centre and increase of tribal reserved seats in Tripura from 20 to 30.
Regarding the formation of government in Meghalaya and Tripura, the Assam Chief Minister, often referred to as the “Chanakya of BJP” in the region, said that the oath taking will take place in Shillong on March 7 and the following day in Agartala. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited to both events, he added.