Tripura government has decided to pay an honorarium of Rs 2,000 to each of the indigenous community leaders that ‘appeared to be significant’ ahead of crucial election to Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) where BJP was yet to garner any support.

Besides, the coalition partner of BJP in Tripura government, IPFT, opposition INPT, other indigenous regional parties and Tripura royal scion Pradyot Manikya Debbarma have emerged as the biggest challenge to BJP and CPI (M) in the next election.

The election was supposed to be held in April this year but had to be deferred due to COVID-19 pandemic.

While BJP’s coalition partner IPFT had demanded to give the administrative charge of ADC to Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kr Jamatia, INPT asked for a committee with all party representatives. CPI (M) wanted to extend the tenure of the expired council for six months to hold the election and other parties have been demanding to appoint Pradyot Manikya Debbarma as Chief of ADC until the election is held.

However, BJP did not get any choice as the party was yet to project any tribal leader as their face in ADC, which represented over 60 per cent geography of Tripura and 30 per cent of the population. Though there are 11 tribal MLAs of BJP, except Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma no one has acceptability among the tribals, which has become an opportunity for regional parties.

Nervous with the losing pulse among the indigenous population, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb held meeting with indigenous community leaders on June 20.

To bring the command of the community in favour of BJP, the chief minister, in a very strategic decision, announced Rs 2,000 to each of the leaders.

According to reports, during the discussion, some community leaders have raised the demand of monthly honorarium for them to run the socio-cultural activities of the communities. The chief minister agreed to the demand and announced to pay Rs 2,000 to all the indigenous community leaders of each tribe in the state.

Both the opposition Congress and CPI (M) have criticized the government stating that before assembly elections BJP had made several commitments including empowerment of ADC and IPFT has joined them only after getting assurance of special development package and political initiative to develop the life, culture, language and tradition of indigenous communities but after two and half years of BJP government nothing was done rather rights of the tribals were snatched away.

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Stories syndicated from news agency United News of India (UNI)