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In Tripura, NDA heads for split as talks over seat sharing fail

GUWAHATI: The NDA is heading for a split in Tripura following disputes between companions BJP and Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal group, over sharing the state's two Lok Sabha seats. The two parties, then again, will stay as allies in the state executive.

Two rounds of discussions - one by way of BJP nationwide basic secretary Ram Madhav and the second one by way of Tripura deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma - has failed to wreck the impasse with IPFT in the closing 48 hours.

"There will be no seat sharing with BJP for the two seats...only friendly contests. Both parties will field their candidates in the two seats. We have finalized our candidates and will make the announcement on Sunday," IPFT president and state income minister Narendra Chandra Debbarma informed NewsTread on Friday evening. BJP is more likely to announce its list of candidates for the state on Saturday.

He added, "BJP had come to discuss seat-sharing arrangements decided that it would contest both the seats - Tripura East and Tripura West. After we objected, BJP gave us one option that both parties will put up their candidates for a friendly contest in Tripura East. For Tripura West constituency, BJP asked us not to field our candidate. This was not acceptable and agreeable."

IPFT would have settled for a seat-sharing deal had BJP given it the Tripura East seat. "We have been requesting BJP leaders to allow us to contest from Tripura East since it's reserved for tribals," mentioned Debbarma.

He added that the phrase 'pleasant combat' is a political jargon and an 'ornamental' word. "In practice, when it comes to fighting election at the highest level, there is no such idea as friendly. Each party would want to win. We will also fight to win both the seats. We are an ally of BJP but now there will be contradictions when we fight the election at the highest level," he mentioned.

The IPFT's primary ballot plank will probably be its principle call for for a separate state for the indigenous tribals of the state. "The demand for a separate state is our top priority and will be the issue this election. We fought the assembly election on this issue and though we are in the government with BJP, we have not given up on our demand," he added.

This will probably be BJP's 2d shot on the Left Front after it received the state assembly election in 2018, ousting Manik Sarkar's rule for 4 continuous phrases.

The two Lok Sabha seats have up to now been shared between CPM and Congress. CPM had received each the seats in 2014 and have retained its sitting MPs Sankar Prasad Datta in Tripura West and Jitendra Choudhury in Tripura East.

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