'Will accept all demands of Tipra Motha except...': BJP's big Tripura offer
Tripura Election Results 2023: The Tipra Motha was founded by royal family member Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma in 2019.
The Bharatiya Janata Party will 'accept all demands of the Tipra Motha except that of Greater Tipraland', the ruling party told news agency PTI Thursday, as trends indicated a narrow win for chief minister Manik Saha's administration.
At 3.20 pm the BJP had won 22 seats - nine from the majority mark - and was leading in 11. (Current) ally, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura, won one.
The Tipra Motha - founded by royal family head Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma - had won eight seats and was leading in four, making it a potentially more decisive ally as the BJP bids for a third consecutive term.
The Left+Congress was leading in 14 overall, meaning the BJP has a relatively clear path to victory even without the extra support of the Tipra Motha.
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"We are forming the next government in the state... as we have been saying since the beginning. Two central leaders - Phanindranath Sarma and Sambit Patra - are here to oversee... hopefully, more will be arriving today," Subrata Chakraborty, the chief spokesperson of the BJP's Tripura unit, said.
Although the Tipra Motha is a fledgling outfit, its primary poll plank - the promise of a 'Greater Tipraland' for the state's indigenous population - has resonated among voters and is expected to help it eat into rivals' vote shares.
In 2018 the IPFT and BJP were victorious on the back of the same promise, but the tribal party failed to deliver and that opened the door for Deb Barma.
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The royal launched the Tipra Motha in 2019 and fired a warning shot in 2021 by winning the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council poll.
The TTAADC covers nearly two-thirds of the state and 90 per cent of its population are tribals. The Tipra won 18 seats, the BJP 10 and the IPFT zero.
Exit polls were cautious in giving the BJP-IPFT an outright win in Tripura - the exception was India Today-Axis My India, which gave them 36-45 seats. At least two others pegged them to win the most seats but still fall short of majority.
That is probably why the BJP has attempted a post-polling outreach to the Tipra Motha, which was predicted to win at least nine seats. Adding those to what the BJP and the IPFT is expected to win will give the saffron party the needed clout.
Deb Barma had multiple offers - from the BJP and the CPIM - before voting on February 16 but stayed aloof. His Tipra Motha could now emerge as kingmakers.
With input from PTI