AGARTALA, March 15 - National Conference of Tripura (NCT), floated by former INPT MLA Animesh Debbarma in December 2006, officially merged with his parent party Indigenous National Party of Tripura (INPT) in a programme held in the Dasharath Deb Memorial Auditorium here last night.
This long-awaited move came as both the parties felt that fragmentation of tribal vote in the upcoming Autonomous District Council (ADC) election will only benefit the BJP and IPFT, allegedly working against the interests of the indigenous people of the State.
Explaining his decision over the merger, ex-MLA Animesh Debbarma refused to term it as �merger� and said that this actually joining of hands as from now on the INPT will be known with the suffix �United�.
The coming together of the two parties before the ADC election is considered by political observers as a significant development towards consolidation of the indigenous forces. Senior leadership of both the parties were present in the programme.
Royal scion Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma delivered a significant speech, welcoming the merger of NCT and INPT which, he said, will send a positive message to the tribal people of the State.
�During the past 70 years of independence no party� be it the CPI (M), Congress and BJP� has done anything with compassion and generosity for the welfare of the indigenous people, otherwise we would have progressed far ahead and the now the need of the hour is all round unity,� Pradyot, who had quit PCC president post following difference of opinion with the Congress leadership on the tribal issue, said.
He said that his sole concern is the present and future of �Tiprasa� (all Tripuri tribals) and he would continue to try to bring about total tribal unity to ensure development of the community. �We need all-round unity and a comprehensive programme to ensure full development of all the tribal communities,� he said.
The merger of NCT with INPT is not that much of important but Pradyot�s significance speech calling upon unity may change political alignment in the State�s hilly areas ahead of ADC elections, according to informed sources.
Now it remains to be seen how the ruling BJP and its ally IPFT downplays the royal scion�s appeal for unity among indigenous parties.