Talks between the BJP and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) have been “positive” and a decision on an alliance with the tribal party will be taken by the central leadership, Tripura BJP chief Biplab Deb said on Wednesday.
He also made it clear that his party does not support the IPFT’s demand for a separate state for the tribal population and talks have focused on improving socio-economic conditions of tribals. “Talks have been positive. Decision on any alliance will be taken by the central leadership,” he told PTI.
BJP sources said a delegation of tribal leaders had met Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Rajnath Singh, and the home ministry has set up a committee to work out a package to help the state’s tribal region. The BJP is also holding discussions with other tribal parties as part of efforts to stitch a strong social alliance to unseat the Left government, which has had an uninterrupted reign of 25 years.
The incumbent Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has been at the helm for 20 years and is seen as a formidable leader with a clean image. He has led the CPI(M) to facile wins in the last several polls but the BJP, which was never a strong contender for power in earlier elections, has emerged as his strongest challenger this time around with several MLAs from other parties joining it.
While the Congress has been the CPI(M)’s traditional rival in the state, political watchers believe that it would be a straight contest between the Left and the BJP this time. Polls to the 60-member assembly are expected next month.
The BJP has built its campaign on alleged lack of development in the state and also promised to implement seventh pay commission. Central government schemes have also benefited a big share of population in the small state, BJP leaders have asserted.