Congress to forge alliance with regional parties for tribal council elections

The Opposition Congress in Tripura on Tuesday said it was expecting an alliance with one or more indigenous regional parties to contest upcoming elections to the tribal autonomous district council. The party made the statement after a holding a meeting of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) that discussed election and coalition issues.

“We appeal to the regional parties to forge an alliance with our party in elections to the tribal autonomous district council,” PCC president Pijush Kanti Biswas told the media. He stated that the meeting of the PCC gave approval to the proposal.

When asked to specifically name a regional party, Mr. Biswas said they were expecting an alliance with one or more tribal-based parties. Election to the 28-member tribal autonomous district council is likely to be held in first week of May. The High Court of Tripura, which earlier heard a public interest litigation (PIL), set May 17 next as deadline to complete elections to the council.

Polling in the council, which has limited jurisdiction over three-fourth of the State’s lands, was due in May last year but was deferred due to the pandemic. The Governor had appointed an Administrator as a makeshift arrangement to run the affairs of the council.

The Congress has always contested elections to the tribal autonomous council in coalition with a regional tribal party. The party is desperately looking for an ally in ensuing poll as it considerably lost strength after joining of a large number of leaders and workers in BJP ahead of 2018 Assembly elections.

Sources said Congress leadership was interested to work out an election deal with the TIPRA (Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) of royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma. The latter was in Congress and briefly held position of PCC president prior to his resignation in 2019 after party high command disproved his demand for implementation of the NRC in Tripura.

TIPRA has announced decision to fight tribal council’s poll and threw offer to other regional parties for an electoral understanding. Other major tribal-based parties like the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) and Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) were yet to clear election strategy.

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