Why Tribal Politics no longer matters to Tripura Congress
The defeat of the IPFT against the CPI(M) in the Simna Tamara by polls indicated one thing to many observers .That in this loss of a regional party two things became clear INPT the former regional champions are a shadow of their former self and that the Congress is a party now which is giving tactical support to the Left.
The decision of Birajit Sinha to field a candidate in the by polls puzzled many Congress supporters as he did not even consult senior leaders within the Party.
When CP Joshi came to Tripura , it is believed that the Working President of the Congress and the only acceptable Tribal leader within the party urged him to ask Birajit Sinha to withdraw the candidate so that he could actively campaign against the Left .
All the request though fell to deaf ears as in the ensuing election the Congress got a paltry 155 votes thereby coming last in the election and the candidate even losing his deposit.
Things have gone to such a low that after the 23rd of August flare up in Agartala the Congress party had to depend on individuals to appeal for peace and did not deem that the official spokesperson come out and appeal for peace.
For many observers Tribal politics no longer matter for the Congress and its attitude towards their own leaders is a testimony.
Over the last few years many senior leaders such as Debabrata Kalai, Monihar Debbarma,Pradyot Bikram Kishore,Sabda Jamatia,Sridam Debbarma,Hollywood Chakma,Zaidami Tripura have felt ignored by the party who prefer Agartala based leaders .
According to these leaders mere appointment of positions will not be enough as Congress party needs to focus on issues and they all admit that whether anyone likes it or not the issue of 'tipraland' is an issue no one can ignore in the hills.
'Money' is also an issue for many leaders in the Congress these days and they are selling posts to people who are willing to pay for them says one insiders.
The new faces we see in PCC office are those of business merchants and individuals who have no political ideology or connect with the masses.
With elections just a year and a half away it is likely that if the AICC does not wake up to the reality soon there maybe a lot of desertion in the party and it is likely that most of the Tribal leaders will gravitate towards BJP or the IPFT .
Inherently the Congress has shown one fundamental weakness towards in politics towards the tribal people and that is that the state leadership does not allow space to the leaders amongst the community.
Congress recently lost its tag as the opposition party to the Trinamool Congress and with a host of unhappy leaders from the indigenous community including that of the working president Pradyot Manikya Deb Barma it seems like the congress has lost the fight to win the hearts and minds of the Tripuri community even before the elections began.
Perhaps in the action of the few leaders it is evident what most people always apprehended 'that the Congress in Tripura never really cared for the Tribal community'