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BJP imports candidate for East Tripura from Chhattisgarh irks party rank and file

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Agartala: The ruling BJP and its newly tied partner, the second largest party in Tripura, TIPRA Motha, faced serious resentment after the announcement of the latter party’s founder and royal scion, Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma’s elder sister, Kriti Singh Debbarma, from the Rajkot royal family of Chhattisgarh, as a Congress activist and candidate of the BJP from East Tripura (ST) constituency.

This is the second time since 1952 in the history of Tripura that a non-resident of the state has been chosen as a nominee for Loksabha. Earlier, the then-ruling party Congress had given a ticket to Santosh Mohan Deb from Silchar (South Assam) from the West Tripura Loksabha seat twice (1989–91 and 1991–96), which was the beginning of the downfall of Congress in Tripura, and the party is suffering to this date.

The selection of Kriti Singh as the candidate of the BJP upset leaders of both parties, who have been relentlessly working at ground level for the last five years. Kriti, who fought the assembly election in 2018 as an independent candidate from Chhattisgarh’s Kawardha constituency against the BJP, has been replaced with the incumbent MP, Rebati Tripura, a dedicated Sangha worker since childhood.

“If party top leaders start importing candidates from outside, ignoring their dedicated cadres sitting in Delhi, I am sure this party will face a tough time soon. In the case of West Tripura, Delhi brought back former CM Biplab Kumar Deb, who was removed from Chief Minister one and a half years ago for his series of misdeeds, corruption, and political vendetta, and the same they did with East Tripura constituency,” said a senior party functionary of the Tripura BJP.

Similarly, TIPRA Motha workers have also been upset with the rule of Pradyot in dealing with the BJP. A top Motha leader said, “Our people felt Pradyot played drama with the emotion of the tribal. Before leaving for Delhi, he assured us he would not compromise our core demand, but he signed a tripartite agreement that contained nothing. We wanted Motha president and veteran politician of Tripura, Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhal, as a BJP-supported candidate in East Tripura, but he brought his sister from Chhattisgarh, who doesn’t know our language, life, and suffering.”

He further alleged that Pradyot had cheated the indigenous people of Tripura time and again since the last assembly elections and said, “Pradyot earned a lot by selling tribals and their emotions to the BJP, and nothing will happen to us. He did everything for his family. In 2019, when I was in Congress, I gave a ticket to another sister, Pragya Debbarma, but she lost, and this time he managed to get a ticket from the BJP at the cost of our pain and suffering. God will not forgive him.”

Motha founder Pradyot, after resigning from Congress in 2019 following a dispute over his anti-CAA stand with Congress supremo, floated the NGO TIPRA Motha, which later turned into a political party ahead of the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) in 2021.

Pradyot went on agitation and several blockade programs demanding the elevation and expansion of ADC to Greater Tipraland (with more autonomy like a separate state) and a constitutional solution to secure land rights and the development of health, education, language, and culture of the indigenous people as enshrined in the Constitution of India.

But he forgot everything when he signed the tripartite agreement and inducted two of his loyal MLAs into the cabinet without any portfolio and his non-resident sister as a BJP candidate, he said and added. Class X pass Kriti Singh (52), the wife of former Congress MLA Yogendra Raj Singh of Kawardha, was never known to the people of Tripura and neither took any interest in the communities.

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