BJP in Cahoots With Separatist IPFT in Tripura, Says Manik Sarkar

The longstanding CM said that the people of Tripura will fight “tooth and nail” to prevent its division.

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BJP in Cahoots With Separatist IPFT in Tripura, Says Manik Sarkar

Manik Sarkar, Tripura Chief Minister for the past 20 years who is attempting a fifth term, has accused the Narendra Modi government of being in cahoots with the separatist tribal party – Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) – and declares that the people of the northeastern state will fight "tooth and nail" to prevent its division.

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leadership is using the terror collaborator – IPFT – as hunting cocks and plotting multi-faceted conspiracies against the Left Front government in Tripura.

Sarkar, 69, accused the BJP-led Centre of putting up an economic blockade against the Left Front government in Tripura, and of all the top leaders of the saffron party and central ministers, led by Modi, "pouncing on the state like eagles" in order to oust the Left from power.


‘BJP’s Held Secret Meetings With IPFT Leaders’

“As part of the BJP’s conspiracy, a series of meetings was held between the IPFT leaders and government officials... Minister in the PMO Jitendra Singh, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and finally with PM Modi in New Delhi – but everything was kept secret and nothing was shared about these meetings with the state government," said Sarkar, who has been in power since 1998.

On the IPFT's demand for a separate state, the Chief Minister said that "the people of Tripura will fight tooth and nail to thwart the division of Tripura". He said that the state’s post-Independence history has been "marked by ethnic peace and amity and even though fissiparous forces tried to disturb peace for a brief while, Tripura maintained perfect ethnic harmony".

When terrorist outfits realised that their demand of ‘Sovereign Tripura’ would never be accomplished, then the IPFT raised the separate state demand to drive a wedge between tribals and non-tribals.

Termed the poll tie-up between the BJP and the IPFT an "unholy alliance", the Chief Minister said it was aimed at dividing Tripura. "But we will not let this happen," he added.

"Despite being a national party, the BJP has no policy – or it would not forge an alliance with IPFT," he said.

Since 2009, the IPFT has been agitating for upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council into a separate tribal state. Most major political parties, including the CPI (M), the Congress, the BJP and other tribal-based parties, have rejected the demand, saying it is not practical to divide the small state which has a population of around four million.


‘Central Funds to Tripura Slashed’

Attacking the Modi government, Sarkar said:

Every month, four to five central ministers would be visiting Tripura. After holding meetings with us and state officials, and voicing appreciation at the state government’s achievements, these ministers would go to the BJP office in Agartala, or address party meetings, where they would make slanderous speeches against my government. When our officials write to the Centre telling them about the reality, it just keeps mum.

He further said that Modi, during his election campaign, accused the Tripura government of not having spent central funds.

"But the central government itself has either reduced or stopped funding to the state under many schemes and projects, including MGNREGA," Sarkar said. He claimed that the Centre has "not been providing the Rs 1,700 crore-Rs 2,000 crore" due to the state every year.

The Chief Minister said that Prime Minister Modi and the BJP should first implement their 2014 poll pledges, and then raise fingers against the Left Front government, which he said has drawn the attention of the entire country for its good governance. "The BJP leadership, after having failed to create anarchy, tried to promulgate President's Rule in Tripura. It motivated the IPFT to blockade the state's vital National Highway and lone railway line, like in Manipur, and it also directed officials not to release the due central funds. All this is besides the continued malicious campaign against the Left leadership," he added.

The Modi government’s policies and the activities of the BJP workers have created a deep crisis for the entire country, and led to panic among the minorities and others.

Sarkar, who has been in the election fray since 1981, has been elected to the state assembly six times – in 1981 (bypolls), 1983, 1998, 2003, 2008 and 2013. He is seeking re-election in the February 18 polls from the Dhanpur (western Tripura) assembly constituency for the fifth consecutive time.

(This interview has been published in an arrangement with IANS.)

(This story was auto-published from a syndicated feed. No part of the story has been edited by The Quint.)

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