AGARTALA, Sept 19 - Differences between Tripura�s ruling partners � the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indigenous People�s Front of Tripura (IPFT) � have been gradually widening with the two parties set to fight against each other in the upcoming politically significant Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections.
The dominant partner, BJP, and the junior ally, IPFT, are now in hectic preparations to wrest control of the TTAADC, which has jurisdiction over two-third of Tripura�s 10,491 sq km area, home to over 12,16,000 people.
The 30-member (28 elected and two nominated by the State Government) TTAADC, which is currently ruled by the Opposition Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M), will go to the polls in April-May next year.
�We have informed the BJP�s Central and State leadership that we will either contest the TTAADC polls alone or field candidates on all 28 seats,� IPFT general secretary and Tribal Welfare and Forest Minister Mevar Kumar Jamatia said today.
He said: �As the IPFT has a substantial base among the 1.2 million tribal population (out of the State�s total four million population) in Tripura, our party�s claim to control the TTAADC is totally justified.�
A delegation of IPFT led by party president and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma met BJP�s working president JP Nadda in New Delhi last week and informed him about the party�s decision.
The IPFT, which has two ministers and eight legislators in Tripura, is also a constituent of the BJP-led anti-Congress alliance, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Jamatia said that they have also informed their decision to NEDA convener and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The BJP and the IPFT had contested against each other in the Lok Sabha polls and elections to the three-tier gram panchayats and municipal bodies earlier this year.
BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that though his party is yet to finalise its TTAADC election strategy, it is likely to contest in most of the seats.
�The IPFT, being an independent party, has its own ideology. It is free to contest the TTAADC polls without any alliance with the BJP. However, it should also maintain the �jot dharma� (coalition principle),� Bhattacharjee said.
The TTAADC was formed in 1985 under the Sixth Schedule of the Constitution to protect and safeguard the political, economic and cultural interests of the tribals who consist one-third of the State�s four million population. Since 1985, the TTAADC has mainly been governed by the CPI-M, which has an extensive base both among the tribals and the non-tribals. � IANS