TRIPURAINFO

TIPRA Motha changed the state's known political fabric

Sanjib Deb

March 29, 2021, 15:54:03   

The 2021 election for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council will remain marked for the emergence of a new force the TIPRA Motha. The state witnessed the birth and death of many political parties but it is a different kind of organization that hit almost all established political forces. In the electoral battle how far it will succeed is not yet clear but its presence has substantially changed the known political fabric of the state.

Since independence and Tripura's merger with the Union of India in October 15, 1949, the political fabric of the state remained polarized between the Congress and the Communists.  Initially, it was the Communist Party of India and then the Communist Party of India (Marxist). Janata Party and some other forces sporadically raised their head but the state politics, by and large, remained polarized between the Congress and the CPI(M).

The 2018 assembly election witnessed the emergence of the Bharatiya Janata Party and the saffron ideology captured state power by removing the Communists.  It became possible as almost the entire Congress switched over to BJP. It brought a major change in the political structure of the state but by and large continues to be identified as left and non-left. It is left and some national party like Congress or BJP in the state level but in the tribal-dominated areas it was the left and the regional parties.

The Congress continues as the dominant non-left force in the state but since 1978 it never tried to make a foray in the tribal areas of the state and leased it out to the regional parties. The ongoing process of the TTAADC election has demolished this basic concept of Tripura politics and the entire fabric has changed.

This is for the first time in the last four decades a national party, the BJP, made a serious bid to establish themselves as a force in the tribal areas of the state. It is one side that led to a major change in the state's political fabric but which totally refurbished it is the emergence of the TIPRA Motha led by Royal Scion Pradyot Bikram Kishor Devvarman.

With a hidden revivalist desire Pradyot Bikram landed in the political arena by propagating his forgotten 'Bubagra' identity. He had an expectation that the entire tribal community will stand beside him in this revivalist move but that becomes counterproductive. Instead of uniting the tribals under one umbrella, it scattered them into many factions leading to multifarious conflict. 

There is a general respect for the Maharajas among the people in this state and the tribal people, especially, had a great attachment to the kings. The princely past is a matter of pride for them and a major section still retains a dormant dream of reviving the old glory. It is what attracted a large number of tribals when Pradyot Bikram appeared in the scene with a veiled agenda.

It was working well till he was wearing a non-political robe. It took a turn as soon as he entered into the field of politics and many of his own people turned their faces. Pradyot has taken everyone comes to his close circle for granted and never realized that many of them also having political expectations and utilizing him only to achieve their target. 

The fact got exposed as soon as he turned his non-political organization TIPRA into a political outfit and decided to contest the election. It led to the clash of interest among his close confidants. His appeal to all the tribal-based political parties to merge into TIPRA Motha evoked no response. On the other hand, it led to hostility among the conflicting interests.

Pradyot used to consider Patal Kanya one of his most confidents but she also turned her face when felt the Maharaja's move may jeopardize her ambitions. The INPT, a force fighting for their existence also entered into an alliance but refused to merge with TIPRA Motha abolishing their own existence. However, the biggest rebuff was from IPFT that used TIPRA Motha only as a weapon to bargain with BJP. It forced Pradyot to filed himself into the election almost alone banking on his princely charisma.

It is true that still a good number of people are turning up to see the 'Maharaja' in the hills and plains but how far it will pay dividends in the election is yet to be assessed. However, the appearance of TIPRA Motha led by Pradyot Bikram has brought a major change in the known political fabric of Tripura. Congress has lost its leading position long ago. The CPI(M) that played a pivotal role in tribal politics also got marginalized and probably the worst affected due to the emergence of TIPRA Motha. The Left and the non-left concept has become redundant and It created an unpredictable situation where nobody can say who is the main contender though the BJP being the ruling party is enjoying a sway.
   (Tripurainfo)

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