New Tripura CM to be picked tomorrow; IPFT demands 'respectable' posts
March 05, 2018  22:32
Newly elected MLAs of the Bharatiya Janata Party and its ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura, will meet in Agartala tomorrow to elect their leader amid hard bargaining by the tribal ally, which demanded 'respectable' positions in the new ministry.

Tripura BJP president Biplab Deb, considered a front runner in the race for the chief minister's post, said tomorrow's meeting would be held at the state guest house in the presence of Union minister Nitin Gadkari.

BJP spokesperson Mrinal Kanti Deb said Union minister Jual Oram would also be present.

The swearing-in of the new ministry is likely to be held on March 8 at the Swami Vivekananada Maidan in the heart of the town. It is likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, many Union ministers and chief ministers of BJP-ruled states, Biplab Deb said.

Meanwhile, the IPFT today mounted pressure on the BJP, saying it would support the new government from outside if it was not given 'respectable' positions in the ministry.

IPFT chief N C Debbarma also demanded that the chief minister be chosen from the indigenous MLAs.

It is a tradition in the northeast that a chief minister is selected from the indigenous community, he added.

The IPFT would also seek a separate block for its MLAs in the Assembly if it was not given 'respectable' positions in the cabinet, he said.

Asked what he meant by respectable positions, Debbarma said it meant proportionate representation of IPFT MLAs in the cabinet and allocation of major departments to them.

"There is an apprehension that we may not be given proper representation in the cabinet and important portfolios would not be allocated to us as the BJP, the major constituent, has alone secured 35 seats," Debbarma told PTI.

The BJP and the IPFT, he said, had fought the elections in an alliance with the sole target of defeating the CPI-M and it was achieved.

"Now if we are not given respectable positions, we will support the government from outside," he said.

The BJP leadership did not make any comment on the IPFT's demand.

The IPFT had forged an alliance with the BJP before the elections on the basis of a common minimum agenda, which included formation of a high-power committee with representations from the central and state governments and the indigenous community to address the problems of the tribals.

The tribal party had come into being in the late '90s and had campaigned for a separate state for tribals by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) on the plea that the indigenous people had become marginalised due to the huge migration of people to this state after partition of the country in 1947.

The tribal council area comprises two-third of the state's territory and the tribals form one-third of the population.  -- PTI
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