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HomeIndia'Kings' who could not be 'Kings'! - KesariNews WAALI

‘Kings’ who could not be ‘Kings’! – KesariNews WAALI

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Faces in discussion: Rahul Gokhale

Although the BJP managed to retain power in the Tripura Assembly elections, the BJP-IPFT alliance suffered a major blow compared to the last elections (2018). The new party defeated this alliance as well as the Left parties especially in the tribal areas. The name of this party is Tipra Motha and the leader of that party is Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma. In its debut, the party won thirteen seats out of twenty tribal majority seats. Not only this, in terms of the number of seats won, this party has remained in the second position under the BJP. Debbarma, who has announced that he will play the role of the opposition but will not align himself with the Congress or the Left, has come to light for bringing extraordinary success to his new party.

Pragyot is a member of Tripura’s royal family. Born in 1978, Pradyot is the brainchild of Tripura’s crown prince, Vikram Kishore Debbarma. Ciri became the king of Tripura; But since Tripura joined India soon, they never got royal rights. He was married to Padmavati Raje, daughter of Vijayaraje Shinde; But Padmavati Raje died in 1965 and Raje remarried Kirit Bibhu Kumari Devi. Pradyota is the son of this couple.

Despite being a royal family, Kirit became the last king of Tripura and participated in the process of parliamentary democracy. Both Kirit and Bibhu Devi have been and are elected Congress MPs for many years. Pradyot inherited the same and became an active member of the Congress. He also campaigned enthusiastically for his sister in the Lok Sabha elections; But he himself did not enter the electoral arena. But Pradyot’s politics was about the political, social, economic and cultural progress of the Tripura tribal community.

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Pradyot was appointed as the working president of Tripura Congress and later as the state president in February 2019. He faced a big challenge to create vitality in the party. But within a few months, Pradyot disagreed with the Congress leadership on the NRC issue. They demanded that ANRC be implemented in Tripura; For that also he rushed to the court; But regional Congress leaders asked Pradyot to withdraw the request. Pradyota was not satisfied with that; He was also against the decision to appoint Subal Bhowmik as the working president of Tripura Congress, because Bhowmik had gone from Congress to BJP and returned to Congress again. Finally, Pradyot resigned from the post of regional president within six months of his appointment.

He stayed away from politics for a while and during that time he acted as a guest star in a film, following his hobby as a copywriter. But he soon returned to politics. In August 2007, Pradyot launched the magazine ‘Northeast Today’. Pradyot eventually sold the magazine, which had a circulation of thousands of copies, and concentrated on politics. He vehemently opposed the amended Citizenship Act and filed an application in court against the act, and led the agitation against the act in Tripura. At the same time, they began to vociferously demand a ‘Greater Tipraland’.

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Pradyot founded the Tipra Motha party just two months before the 2021 elections to the Autonomous Tribal Council in Tripura. In Tripura, 70 percent of the people speak Bengali while the remaining 30 percent speak the Kokborok language. This language mainly belongs to the citizens of the tribal period. Its script is Roman. But the central government decided to change the script of this language to Devanagari. This decision was opposed in the tribal belt.

Pradyot’s stance was openly anti-Bengali. It was definite that the tribes did not want the Bengali language or scripture; He made it clear that if the tribes want to learn the Kokborok language in the Roman script, they will support it, but that they strongly oppose the Bengali script. He also took a stand that tribals should not be prevented from learning Hindi or English language for employment. Pradyot was of the balanced view that there is no need to make all Hindi speakers villains because of the Centre’s efforts to enforce the Hindi language. But he was also accused of doing tribal politics against non-tribals.

The Autonomous Tribal Council elections first showed that Tipra Motha is getting a growing response in the tribal belt of Tripura. In fact, since 2015, the Left has dominated there. But in the 2021 elections, the Left lost its way; Congress failed and BJP ally IPFT could not even open an account. However, Tipra Motha won 18 seats out of 28, with 16 seats and allies two. It was a colorful exercise of assembly elections. He announced that he will contest elections outside the tribal belt in the assembly elections. His negotiations with the BJP failed. But he also announced that he will not join any of the Left parties or the Congress. Pradyot may have speculated that if a hung assembly comes into being after the elections, he will be the ‘kingmaker’.

In the campaign, of course, the issue of an independent state for tribes came up. Adivasis have become a minority and have taken on the role of protecting its interests. Besides that, promises were made about police, twenty thousand jobs, etc. to the autonomous council; Along with this, protection was also guaranteed to the non-tribals living in the tribal belt. The results revealed that Tipra Motha’s party won 13 of the 42 seats contested.

But with the BJP getting a majority on its own, Pradyot’s party will now have to play the role of the opposition. Pradyot proved his popularity on his first appearance in the Autonomous Tribal Council elections and now Pradyot has proved his popularity in the Assembly elections as well. But these results have also made them aware of the reality that if the party is limited to the tribal belt only, it will be deprived of power.

Pradyot’s journey has been from a member of the royal family to the state president of the Congress to the founder of the Tipra Motha Party. Being in his forties, Pradyot still has a big career ahead of him. Pradyot expressed his belief that he will win at least 31 seats in this election. At least for now, Pradyota, who is a member of the royal family, has in a way become a ‘King’ without being a ‘King’!

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