With just a year to go before the Tripura Assembly elections, the BJP’s state unit is in a good mood. Although two of its legislators have recently joined the Congress, the Trinamool Congress is also looking for opportunities to set foot on the ground.
With a significant number of tribal voters, and the BJP’s ally Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) finding itself, the party believes the development work done by the government will ensure that tribal voters will not take their support elsewhere.
In an exclusive interview with News18.com, Tripura Chief Minister Biplob Kumar Dev touched on the problems of the alliance, women-centric policies and the opposition parties’ attempts to take over the state.
The IPFT is dissatisfied with the alliance. The BJP is not shying away from seeking support from Tipra Moth, a pro-Devabarma party in the tribal areas. Is the matter settled with your friend?
The Bharatiya Janata Party has a clear majority. Nevertheless, we follow the alliance religion. We have given IPFT two cabinet berths and also with important departments like tribal, forest, weaving, fisheries and revenue. Atal Bihari Vajpayee taught us how to go with allies. He led 26 alliances. We never leave our allies. Allies may decide to leave us, but we try to work together.
One does not rule to please allies or others. One should rule to satisfy the people and fulfill the wishes and needs of the people. The complacency policy pursued by previous governments has hurt the country. Tripura is the only government in the country that has stood by the people from birth to death. We also give Rs 2,000 to the families of the deceased.
We got 40 votes in our Rajya Sabha elections and it shows that our alliance is intact.
Despite your ally IPFT being a political opponent in the tribal seats, the BJP is in talks with Tipra Motha’s Pradyut Devvarma.
Those who believe in our ideals can stay with us. He (Pradyut) is in a different team. We have made so much development in the tribal areas. The road is being built.
Tripura has got a forensic science university which is going to be a game-changer. Not only students from our country, but also Laos, Singapore and other neighboring countries will send their students to Tripura. It will contribute to the development of the state.
We will also find an airport in Kailashahar. Agartala is also set to get an international airport soon.
You say your policy is women-centric. Can you elaborate?
We have approved 33% reservation in government jobs in Tripura. We know that as long as women are not given land ownership, domestic violence will continue and women will not be empowered. Stamp duty will be 2% less for property registered in the name of women. We are promoting start-ups and half of the budget is reserved for women.
We will build women’s work hostels because women cannot stay in anyone’s house. They may feel insecure or uncomfortable. We have a strict policy on transfers for women.
You are looking forward to the by-elections in the state and TMCO has become active. What is your strategy to ensure that BJP will win this by-election because losing them will send wrong message?
I will not even take the name of the person or group. Their hopes of destroying the BJP in Tripura have been dashed. Those who left BJP and went for Congress alone We have worked on the HIRA model. Their only councilor has joined the BJP. Their ‘diyas, mombattis‘It won’t work here. Modi’s flashlight works here. I see 16 MLAs in the opposition, but I’m not sure the opposition will get as many seats in the next election.
Who are your main opponents and are the leftists still relevant?
I don’t care about leftist ideology because they have anti-national mentality. They have not changed at all. After coming to power, I was able to celebrate their Gandhi Jayanti but they have not changed yet. If they need to celebrate their birthday, they will do it for Stalin, for Lenin. I don’t want them to celebrate our leaders but shouldn’t Indian leaders like Jyoti Basu and other former chief ministers celebrate? Can’t they be honored on their birth anniversary? They still don’t mean Indian communists.
Those who are still with the Left are very unfortunate. The international communists never recognized the Indian communists.
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