Agartala, Mar 4: A day after the party and its ally BJP swept the Assembly polls, the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) on Sunday demanded a respectable representation of its MLAs in the new state government.
IPFT president NC Debbarma also asked the BJP to select the chief minister from among the tribal MLAs. The tribal party won eight of the nine seats it had contested. The BJP won 35 seats on its own, giving it a majority in the 60-member Tripura Assembly.
"We demand a respectable representation of IPFT MLAs in the new Cabinet," Debbarma told a press conference. He, however, did not clarify what he meant by "respectable position".
"We think it would be a justice for the indigenous people if one indigenous MLA is named as the chief minister. It is also the tradition in the northeast," he said.
The BJP-IPFT combine won 17 out of the 20 seats reserved for Scheduled Tribes in the February 18 elections. Asked what will happen if the chief minister is not selected from among the tribal MLAs, Debbarma said, "I only said about the tradition. There is no force."
The IPFT came into being in late 1990s and campaigned for a separate state by carving out the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council, which constitute two third of the state's territory. However, it forged an alliance with the BJP on the basis of common minimum agenda and the saffron party made it clear it was opposed to the demand for a separate state.