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Tipra Motha-BJP tacit understanding caused worst damage to democracy in Tripura: CPI(M)

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Agartala, Apr 2 (PTI) The CPI(M) on Tuesday claimed that tribal-based party Tipra Motha has caused the “worst-ever damage” to the democratic movement in Tripura by fielding candidates in general seats, which helped the BJP in the 2023 assembly elections.

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The Tipra Motha, which was not in the government then, did this in a "secret understanding" with BJP so that opposition votes get divided, CPI(M) state secretary Jitendra Chowdhury claimed. The Tipra Motha bagged 13 seats in the 60-member assembly in last year’s election and became the main opposition party in the northeastern state. It, however, joined the Manik Saha government last month and two of its MLAs became ministers.

“We had a suspicion that Tipra Motha chief had a secret understanding with the BJP before last year’s assembly elections. That’s why he fielded candidates in 22 (unreserved) assembly seats to give an advantage to the BJP,” Chowdhury said in a rally at Ambassa in Dhalai district.

After Tipra Motha founder Pradyot Kishore Debbarma decided to join the government, it has become clear that he had an arrangement with the BJP, Chowdhury claimed in the rally organised to mark submission of nomination by INDIA bloc nominee Rajendra Reang, a CPI(M) leader.

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“Pradyot Kishore Debbarma has caused worst-ever damage to the democratic movement in Tripura by fielding candidates in 22 unreserved seats in which it has no hope for victory. He had played with the sentiment of the people in the name of Greater Tipraland,” Chowdhury said.

The concept of ‘Greater Tipraland’ state, which used to be a key demand of the Tipra Motha, has not been specified, though it is supposed to include parts of several other northeastern states and Bangladesh, besides Tripura.

Chowdhury claimed the BJP would not have secured majority in the assembly had Tipra Motha not fielded candidates in unreserved seats.

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In the February 2023 assembly elections, the BJP won 32 seats while its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), bagged one. The Tipra Motha secured 13 constituencies. The CPI(M) and Congress had fought the election jointly and won 11 and 3 seats respectively.

“The man (Debbarma), who used to brand the former chief minister Bilab Kumar Deb as a Bangladeshi during the anti-CAA movement, has now described him as his dearest friend,” the CPI(M) leader said.

He appealed to the electors to vote for INDIA bloc candidates in the election of two Lok Sabha seats - Tripura West and Tripura East - and by-election to Ramnagar assembly constituency to save the democracy.

While Rajendra Reang is contesting from East Tripura Lok Sabha seat as INDIA Bloc, state Congress president Asish Kumar Saha has been fielded in Tripura West Lok Sabha seat as INDIA Bloc nominee.

Former CPI(M) MLA Ratan Das is the INDIA bloc candidate in the by-election to the Ramnagar Assembly seat. PTI PS NN

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