Two oppn Tipra Motha Party MLAs inducted as ministers in Tripura

Agartala, March 7 (IANS) Tripura Governor Indra Sena Reddy Nallu on Thursday administered the oath of office and secrecy to the two new ministers — Animesh Debbarma and Brishaketu Debbarma, both from Tipra Motha Party (TMP), at a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhavan.

Chief Minister Manik Saha, his council of ministers, and senior civil and security officials were present at the swearing-in ceremony, held at the Durbar Hall of Raj Bhavan.

After year-long hectic parlays and six days after signing of a tripartite agreement with the Centre and the Tripura government, the opposition and the tribal-based TMP decided to join the BJP-led coalition government in Tripura adding a new twist to Tripura politics.

TMP legislator Animesh Debbarma, who was the opposition leader before becoming a cabinet minister, and lawyer turned politician Brishaketu Debbarma, took oath as minister of state and both are the new entrants in the council of ministers in Tripura.

Both the tribal leaders, who took the oath in tribal ‘Kokborok’ language, were elected to the state assembly twice.

Before taking the oath, Animesh Debbarma resigned from the post of Opposition Leader in the state assembly.

Since the BJP-led alliance assumed charge for the second consecutive term on March 8 last year, three ministerial berths are lying vacant as the total strength of the cabinet is 12.

After Wednesday’s expansion of the cabinet, one ministerial berth will remain vacant.

Another tribal-based party, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), is also an ally of the BJP-led government, and its lone MLA Sukla Charan Noatia is a Cabinet minister in charge of Cooperation, Tribal Welfare (TRP and PTG) and Welfare of Minorities Departments.

The TMP, in its maiden electoral battle in the February 16 Assembly polls held last year, had fielded 42 candidates, including 20 on the tribal reserved seats. The party had won 13 seats with a vote share of 19.69 per cent, as it highlighted its demand for ‘Greater Tipraland’ or a separate state for the tribals under Articles 2 and 3 of the Constitution.

After the Assembly polls, the TMP with overwhelming dominance among the tribals, became the second-largest party in the state to secure the main opposition party status.

After wresting power in the politically important Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) in April 2021, the TMP intensified its agitation in support of its ‘Greater Tipraland’ demand, which has been strongly opposed by the ruling BJP, Left Front, Congress, Trinamool Congress and other parties.

The TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 sq km area, and is home to over 12,16,000 people, of which around 84 per cent are tribals, is, in terms of its political significance, the second most important constitutional body in the state after the Tripura Assembly.

On March 2, the TMP signed a tripartite agreement with the Center and the Tripura government 2 in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha and others.

According to the agreement, a Joint Working Group/Committee would be formed to work out and implement the mutually agreed issues in a time-bound manner to ensure an ‘honourable’ solution to tribals’ demands.

“The agreement was signed amicably to resolve all the issues of the indigenous people of Tripura relating to their history, land rights, political rights, economic development, identity, culture, language etc.,” the agreement said.



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