The ruling CPI-M in Tripura on Monday claimed that a tribal based party is trying to create trouble ahead of next year’s assembly polls at the “behest of the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO)”. Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), which is agitating for a separate state carved out of areas falling under the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), has announced blockade of National Highway-8, Tripura’s lifeline, and the lone railway line of the state for an indefinite period from July 10 to push for its demand. “The IPFT is going to start a dangerous road and rail blockade agitation at the behest of the PMO. The IPFT leaders had a meeting with Minister of State in Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) Jitendra Singh on May 17 in New Delhi and after that, they announced the road and railway blockade stir,” Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) state Secretary Bijan Dhar told reporters.
“A few months before the Manipur Assembly elections, (the) BJP forced the United Naga Council (UNC) to block the state’s vital National Highway to put the then Congress government in an awkward situation with an aim to dislodge the party from power. Within 48-hours of assumption of office by a BJP government in Manipur, the several-months-long road blockade was withdrawn.” He said the UNC is a political organisation of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM). Dhar, a CPI-M Central Committee member, also alleged that IPFT president Narendra Chandra Debbarma while he was station director of All India Radio, Agartala, held meetings with terrorist outfits based in Bangladesh and these facts were known by the central and state intelligence agencies.
“Terror outfit NLFT (National Liberation Front of Tripura) has recently changed its leader and vowed to support the IPFT in the next assembly elections. The BJP has a covert tie-up with IPFT,” Dhar said, adding that the three might do some “serious conspiracy” ahead of the assembly polls. “There would be no existence of Tripura if a separate state is formed out of this tiny state. Moreover, decades-old ethnic harmony would also be destroyed,” the Left leader said. BJP and IPFT leaders, however, denied the accusations. Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) state unit President Biplab Kumar Deb said: “The CPI-M’s claim is totally false and imaginary. The BJP never supports the division of Tripura. The Left Front can take legal and administrative action against anyone trying to create trouble and disturb the peace.”
“Due to the misrule of CPI-M, the tribals remained backwards in Tripura,” the BJP leader said. CPI-M central Committee member Gautam Das criticised the BJP leader. “Biplab Deb is a political upstart. He is not aware that the separate state demand was raised soon after CPI-M came to power in Tripura in 1978. Now, the IPFT, a mask of the banned NLFT outfit, has again raised the demand.”