Agartala: Tripura Chief Minister Manik Saha, credited with leading the BJP to power in the state earlier this year, expressed confidence that the issues in the neighbouring state of Manipur would be resolved over time.
In a recent media interview, Saha also highlighted the BJP’s successful inroads into the tribal belt of Tripura, which had long been under the control of the tribal outfit Tipra Motha, but is now facing challenges of its own.
Addressing the situation in Manipur, the 70-year-old Chief Minister said, “It (troubles) has happened before in Manipur. I do believe in due course the matter (ethnic clashes) will be solved.”
In Tripura, the four-year-old Tipra Motha, led by Prodyut Manikya Debbarma, a descendant of the former ruling family, and Bijoy Kumar Hrangkhawl, a former militant, has been in discussions with the Tripura government and the Centre. They seek a tribal-controlled Greater Tipraland and greater funds and autonomy for the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which the tribal party currently controls.
However, Saha, a dental surgeon turned politician, remains optimistic that this situation will not disrupt the party’s prospects in the upcoming 2024 Parliamentary elections. He believes that there are internal dissensions within Tipra Motha and suggests that their voter base might be diminishing. “They (Tipra Motha) have their own problems. We are gaining entry into tribal areas. We have our own strength through tribal organisations,” he said.
It is notable that the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) and BJP have been actively working to engage with tribal communities and have expanded their presence throughout most areas of the state. While there is speculation that Tipra Motha might join the BJP government as part of a ‘peace’ deal, Saha clarified that there is currently no such proposal. However, he remained open to future negotiations, stating, “In politics, anything is possible.”