On April 10th, far from the limelight of the national media houses, a novice political party of Tripura managed to defeat reigning BJP and the national opposition party Congress. This feat was achieved in the Autonomous District Council elections (ADC) in the 6th schedule area of Tripura. ADC’s are set up under the constitution of India as a tribal-governed jurisdiction to safeguard the developmental and cultural requirements of indigenous peoples.
TIPRA (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) that won 2/3rd majority is the umbrella organisation of regional political parties established by royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya DebBarma. It came into existence less than a year ago to offer a new option to voters who earlier had to choose a regional party that would align with either the BJP, the Congress, or the Left. With this majority, that tradition has been broken after many years.
In an interview to NDTV, DebBarma said that the indigenous people of North-East India need to unite so as to avoid being dependent on national parties as their needs are different. “(If we unite), We can send a message to Delhi that we are here to stay, don’t take us lightly.” According to him, North-East suffers because of the compulsion to align with national parties who dismiss the particular demands of the people such as NRC in areas that have been particularly been affected by illegal immigration. The demands are co-opted in the larger politics of the country.
The newly-formed party, with mostly young first-time elected members has a tall task ahead of it. Many critics are watching closely to see if the team of new members can make a difference to the lives of the indigenous people as they are not experienced in the art of governance.
Note: All views belong to the author.