AGARTALA, July 30 (IANS): In a significant political development, the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), a tribal-based state party, has snapped its ties with main opposition Congress.
"From now on, we would keep equal distance from the national political parties. We would go alone to strengthen our organisational base. Henceforth, INPT has no alliance with the Congress," party general secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told reporters Wednesday.
However, a senior INPT leader, on the condition of anonymity, told IANS that the INPT is also considering forging political alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).
"In our two-day (Monday and Tuesday) central committee meeting we have decided to break our political alliance with Congress. No decision was taken yet about forming coalition with the BJP or the Trinamool Congress," Debbarma said.
Formed in 1967, Tripura Upajati Juba Samity (TUJS) was renamed as INPT in 2002 when it merged with the Tripura National Volunteers (TNV). An erstwhile militant outfit, TNV turned into a political party after a tri-partite agreement with the Tripura and union governments in August 1988.
As the Congress has poor base among the tribals, it had allied with the TUJS in 1983. Tribals constitute a third of Tripura's 3.7 million people and play a crucial role in Tripura politics.
The former TUJS had a political alliance with the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance for a few years since 1999.
Debbarma said that the party would contest the future elections alone in Tripura including the next year's crucial elections to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC). "It would help the party to broaden and strengthen its organisational base among the tribals," he said.
The INPT leader also announced that a massive rally would be organised in Agartala September 15 and after that a party delegation would meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi in New Delhi and submit a memorandum to him.
"The INPT would ask the central government to amend the constitution suitably to give more power to the TTAADC and enlist tribal 'Kokborok' language in the eighth schedule of the constitution," the tribal leader said.
The TTAADC, formed by amending the Indian constitution in 1985, has been playing a key role in the socio-economic development of tribals. It has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura's geographical area of 10,491.69 sq km.
The ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) has a substantial base among the tribals and won 19 of the 20 tribal reserved seat in the 60-member Tripura assembly polls in February last year.
The CPI-M is also in power in the TTAADC, for which elections are held every five years like assembly and Lok sabha.