A day after Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb warned coalition partner IPFT of stern action for holding agitations over the appointment of chairmen to the Block Advisory Committees (BACs), the IPFT today demanded that these appointments be stopped forthwith.
The Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) is a partner of the BJP in the coalition government in Tripura that came to power in March after putting an end to the 25-year rule of the Left Front in the north-eastern state.
"They (IPFT) were cautioned many times against causing such public sufferings, but they are not listening. If they continue to cause public sufferings, nobody will be spared," Deb, who is also the home minister of the state, told reporters here.
IPFT chief N C Debbarma, who is also the state Revenue minister, said in a news conference, that the state panchayat department had in a notification on May 11 last announced the names of 27 chairmen of BAC, but they should not be appointed and the state government should postpone the appointments.
We want that the state government should formulate a concrete policy regarding nomination of the BAC chairmen and there should be provision for representation of women. To table a bill in state assembly in this regard is necessary. And if it is time-consuming, an ordinance could be passed by the concurrence of the governor. If it is done, the rift between the two constituents could be averted," Debbarma told reporters.
The disagreements between BJP and the IPFT, a tribal party, over the nomination of the BAC chairmen came to fore when the latter resorted to agitations in various parts of the state.
Sources in the IPFT said their grievance was that they could not get the BAC chairperson of their choice at many places.
The BACs monitor the implementation of developmental schemes of the government at the grassroots level.
A five-member state-level coordination committee of the BJP and the IPFT, which was formed last week to ensure better coordination within the government, had recently released a list of 27 BAC chairmen.
The list has become a bone of contention between the ruling allies as disagreements over it have been reported from various districts.
The BJP had secured 35 seats, while the IPFT had bagged eight seats in the March election for the 60-member Tripura Assembly.
Assistant Inspector General of Police (Law and Order) Smriti Ranjan Das said IPFT activists blocked National Highway 8 at Shakbari and Sachirambari in South Tripura district for about two hours yesterday.
However, the police managed to get them to withdraw the blockade following long persuasions and there was no untoward incident, he told PTI.
A group of IPFT activists, including women, had gheraoed the Lefunga block office in West Tripura district yesterday, demanding that a leader of the outfit be made the BAC chairman in the area, instead of someone from the BJP.
According to Superintendent of Police (West Tripura) Ajit Pratap Singh, 750 people, including 150 women, had gathered around the Lefunga block office on Monday, but were persuaded to disperse in the evening.
Superintendent of Police (Khowai) Krishnendu Chakravertty said nearly 350 people had gheraoed the police station and tried to damage its outer fence, demanding the release of arrested tribal leaders.
"The mob was turning unruly, but things were brought under control subsequently. They tried to damage the outer fence, but there was no major damage," he added.