Lok Sabha elections 2019: Congress offers BJP alliance partner IPFT a way out in Triupura
Tripura Congress offered an ‘honourable solution’ if they wished to begin dialogue with the party. (Express Photo by Abhinav Saha/File)

Shortly after Tripura’s ruling alliance partner, the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), fielded candidates against the BJP in what they termed as a “friendly fight”, the Tripura Congress Sunday offered them an “honourable solution” if they wished to begin dialogue with the party.

“If IPFT is upset with BJP, they are most welcome to come and talk to me. I will offer them an honourable solution,” Tripura Pradesh Congress president Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman told indianexpress.com.

Pradyot, who is also a scion of Tripura’s Manikya dynasty, said he puts people before politics. His recent move against the Citizenship Amendment Bill had invited criticism from the ruling BJP and IPFT.

Earlier on Saturday, IPFT supremo NC Debbarma, who is also revenue minister in Tripura’s BJP-IPFT coalition government, said the tribal party would contest in both the Lok Sabha seats in the state. Debbarma will contest from East Tripura (ST reserved) constituency and youth leader Suklacharan Noatia from West Tripura constituency.

The IPFTs decision came after holding several rounds of talks over seat-sharing with the BJP. The IPFT has 8 MLAs in the 60-member Tripura legislative Assembly while the BJP has 36 legislators. The tribal party is BJP’s lone ally in Tripura.

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BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharjee ruled out any impact on his party’s poll prospects. “We are not thinking about IPFT now. BJP will contest in both Lok Sabha seats of Tripura. We are confident of victory,” he said.

Meanwhile, Congress has kept its doors open for a dialogue on an alliance with all the regional political parties including the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Twipra (INPT), National Conference of Tripura (NCT), IPFT – Tipraha (a breakaway faction of IPFT) and others.

“I am talking to everyone. My aim is not to bully regional parties. Regional parties have a role to play but it should not be in direct conflict with the Congress ideology,” the Pradesh Congress chief said.

However, Pradyot declined to comment on seat-sharing arrangement with any of the regional parties.

“Seat-sharing will be finalised when our party takes a decision. We are doing everything to make sure that BJP is defeated in Tripura. I can’t comment on the rest now”, he said.

However, opposition CPI (M) has ruled out any possibility of alliance with the IPFT for Lok Sabha polls. Senior CPI (M) leader and Lok Sabha MP Jitendra Chaudhury said his party would not take support from the IPFT, even if they came out of the BJP alliance and offered support.

In a press conference at Kanchanpur in North Tripura district, Jitendra Chaudhury said he has received tremendous support from people during campaign. However, the MP has ruled out any alliance with IPFT claiming they are politically bankrupt and there is no question of forging alliance with them.

Tripura has two Lok Sabha seats with 25,98,290 voters scheduled to exercise their voting rights on April 11 and April 18 at West Tripura and East Tripura Lok Sabha constituencies, respectively. Parliament elections would be held in the state in two phases this year.