A delegation of the Tipra Motha Party (TMP), who's supremo Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman earlier announced an indefinite hunger strike unless the Centre met the party's demand by March 27, suddenly left for Guwahati on Wednesday to meet Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
According to Deb Barman, the Central government was supposed to appoint an interlocutor by March 27 to study the "constitutional solutions" to the TMP's demands for more autonomy and socio-economic development of the tribals. TMP MLA and party media unit in-charge Paul Dangshu said that the six member delegation led by party chairman Deb Barman had to leave for Guwahati to attend an important meeting. The other members of the delegation include TMP president Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, Animesh Debbarma, Brishaketu Debbarma, Biswajit Kalai, all MLAs and former minister Mewar Kumar Jamatia.
Deb Barman on Monday announced that he will go on an indefinite hunger strike unless the Centre appoints the interlocutor by March 27. He earlier said that Union Home Minister Amit Shah had on March 23 informed him that the Centre would appoint an interlocutor by March 27 to study the "constitutional solutions" to the TMP's demands for more autonomy and socio-economic development of the tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripura's 4 million population. After his telephonic conversation with Amit Shah he met Sarma on Thursday and said that Sarma would brief Shah regarding the urgency of this matter.
Scripting history in the February 16 Assembly polls the TMP, the first tribal based party in Tripura since 1952, emerged as the principal opposition party in the northeastern state by winning 13 seats in the 60-member Tripura assembly. The ruling BJP has been trying to lure the TMP to join the state ministry headed by Chief Minister Manik Saha and has kept three ministerial berths vacant for the tribal party.
However, Deb Barman said that they would not join the BJP led ministry unless their demand was met. The TMP, after capturing the politically important Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) in April 2021, has been demanding elevation of the areas of the autonomous body by granting a 'Greater Tipraland State' or a separate state status under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.
Sarma, who is one of the BJP's main strategists in the northeastern region, had recently said in Agartala that talks between the BJP and the TMP may resume but it should be under the constitutional framework, and not on the condition of dividing Tripura. Sarma, who before the Assembly polls held several rounds of negotiations with Deb Barman, had said that talks can resume but "we cannot talk about Greater Tipraland State".
On March 8, the day the BJP led coalition assumed office for the second consecutive time in Tripura, Amit Shah held a two-hour meeting with TMP leaders and discussed their demands. Besides Shah, BJP president J.P. Nadda, Assam Chief Minister, his Tripura counterpart Manik Saha, and all the 13 TMP legislators as well as senior leaders of the party were present at the meeting.
( 525 Words)