Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma, chief of Tipra Motha Party, met Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma late last night in Delhi hours after the centre assured the appointment of an interlocutor over his party's demand for the "constitutional solution" for the indigenous people of Tripura.
The meeting comes ahead of the crucial election for speaker in Tripura legislative Assembly being held today.
Opposition CPM, Congress and Tipra Motha had earlier announced common candidates against the BJP nominee for the posts of speaker and deputy speaker in Tripura assembly. Sources say after Home Minister Amit Shah's call to the Mr Debbarma, all 13 MLAs of his party are likely to abstain from voting in today's election.
The scion of the former Tripura royal family in a tweet yesterday said that Home Minister Amit Shah has assured the appointment of an interlocutor on March 27.
"In a follow up to yesterdays conversation with the home minister regarding the appointment of an interlocutor I met Shri @himantabiswa last evening and he will be issuing a statement in the same regard . We are interested in a honourable constitutional solution to the problem of our indigenous people of Tripura and hope that this process starts as promised within the next few days" he tweeted this morning.
In a follow up to yesterdays conversation with the home minister regarding the appointment of an interlocutor I met Shri @himantabiswa last evening and he will be briefing the Home Minister regarding the urgency of this matter . We are interested in a honourable constitutional… pic.twitter.com/6k84EbA1By— Pradyot_Tripura (@PradyotManikya) March 24, 2023
His party Tipra Motha won 13 seats in the 60-member Tripura assembly in what was its debut electoral fight. The BJP won the February 16 election with 33 seats while the Left-Congress alliance secured 14 seats. Trinamool Congress failed to open its account.
Mr Debbarma, a former state Congress chief, has repeatedly stressed that he would happily sit in the Opposition than compromise on his party's core demand for a 'Greater Tipraland'.
Home Minister Amit Shah, Tripura Chief Minister Dr Manik Saha and BJP chief JP Nadda had on March 8 held talks with Tipra Motha leaders including Mr Debbarma over tribal welfare in the state..
Talks between the BJP and Tipra Motha in the run-up to the polls fell through when the tribal party stuck to its statehood demand and the BJP did not agree.
While the BJP may not need Tipra Motha's support to hold Tripura, the new party's stellar show in its first election contest seems to have raised the ruling party's concerns for the 2024 general election. The party appears to have eaten into the BJP ally IPFT's tribal support base.
A senior BJP leader had earlier told NDTV that the leadership is keen to get the Tipra Motha onboard. "We feel that if Tipra Motha remains in the Opposition, it will be a formidable Opposition both inside and outside the assembly. In the 2024 election, BJP wants to win big and bag maximum seats in the Northeast. But in Tripura's tribal areas, Tipra Motha may be our main challenger. So we want to resume talks," the BJP leader said.