A new political landmark was set in Tripura last week when the Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) -- a party formed by former state Congress chief and Tripura's royal scion Pradyot Manikya Deb Burman -- won the tribal council polls.
The party led by Mr Deb Burman, who had left the Congress over differences with the high command in 2019, cornered the BJP, the Congress as wells as the Left in the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections, winning 18 of the 28 seats.
"I have been telling all my friends that it is possible to wait and create a third space if we remain clear... because I am not Left, and I am also not extreme. My perspective is from the centre. What I have felt is that national parties do not try to understand what northeast is talking about," Mr Burman told NDTV in an exclusive interview after his party's significant victory.
"I have been in the Congress and have felt that this distance has always worked against the interest. So, there was a feeling in my state as well as entire northeast that you have to ally with either the Congress or BJP to win elections," he added.
Mr Burman said his party is a team of young people as out of the 19 candidates who won, 14 are below the age of 40. "Some are 29, some 30."
"None of them barring one or two have any political background. We fought well. We fought on our own. We have fought against the strongest party of India - BJP, the oldest party of the country - the Congress, and the party which was very formidable - the CPM," he said.
The TIPRA chief said if the people of the Northeast unite on mutual issues, "such as the citizenship amendment act or the national register charter, the plight of the tribals especially in parts of Tripura... the tiprasa people (will be addressed)."
"Thereby, we can send a message to Delhi that don't take us lightly. We are here to stay and not every leader is purchasable," Mr Burman said.
A delegation of his party met Governor Ramesh Kumar Bais on Sunday evening and staked the claim to form the new council.
In the 30-member tribal council, elections were held in 28 seats on April 6 and the results were declared on April 10. Representatives in the remaining two seats will be nominated by the governor on the advice of the state government.
The TTAADC area comprises two-third of the states territory and is the home to the tribals, who constitute one-third of Tripuras population.
Pradyot Manikya had resigned as Tripura Congress president and as well as from the Congress membership last year and was on a political hibernation until he recently formed The Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA). TIPRA acted as an umbrella organisation for various tribal-based organizations, civil society groups and NGOs.