Pradyot Debbarman, Tipra Motha chief, today said that the party will continue to be the main Opposition party in the Tripura assembly as will raise issues of the people. Tipra Motha, the second-largest party in Tripura with 13 members, has been pushing for an interlocutor to discuss the constitutional solution of the tribals, who constitute one-third of the state's estimated 40 lakh people in the state.
His remarks come amid speculation that Tipra Motha may join the BJP. In the last few days, Mr Debbarman has held meetings with Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Union Home Minister Amit Shah over the issue.
The ruling BJP has 31 members and its ally, Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), has one MLA in the assembly while opposition parties have 27 members comprising 13 members from Tipra Motha, 11 from CPM, and three from Congress.
Mr Debbarman said that they will continue to raise issues of the indigenous communities even as they continue formal talks with the BJP government at the Centre.
"We have been elected by people to raise their voice on the issues and demands. If we sit in the government without our issues being addressed, we will be doing injustice. So, we have decided not to be part of the government even if the talks start and there is an offer. We will be raising the issues of Tiprasa people and till the time there is no solution to our demands, we would rather sit in opposition," Mr Debburman told NDTV.
Earlier, the scion of the former Tripura royal family said Mr Shah assured the appointment of an interlocutor on March 27 in an early morning call.
"There are certain technical processes that have to be done for appointment of interlocutor and the process is on. They have assured us to keep our trust and be patient. We will wait for the appointment of an interlocutor," Mr Debbarman said days after he threatened to hold a fast unto death.
The Tipra Motha, which came into being in 2021, contested the last assembly elections held in February alone as no political party in the state had agreed to give a written assurance of supporting the ‘Greater Tipraland' demand by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which constitute two third of the state territory and home to tribals.
Motha contested 42 out of 60 seats in the state assembly and won 13 seats.