Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb today warned coalition partner Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) that stern action would be taken if they continued to cause public sufferings by holding agitations across the state over the appointment of the chairmen to the Block Advisory Committees (BACs).
"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.
The BJP and the IPFT, a tribal party, have so far failed to suppress their disagreements over the nomination of the BAC chairmen, prompting the latter to resort to agitations in various parts of the state.
The BACs monitor the implementation of developmental schemes of the government at the grassroot level.
A five-member, state-level coordination committee of the BJP and the IPFT, which was formed last week to ensure a better coordination within the government, had recently released a list of 28 BAC chairmen.
The list has become a bone of contention between the ruling allies as disagreements over it have been reported from various districts.
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 today.
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 a leader of the outfit as 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 yesterday, but were persuaded to disperse in the evening.
IPFT supporters had also gheraoed the Champahower police station in Khowai district, around 70 kms from here, yesterday. 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," Chakravertty said.
Reacting to the issue, state BJP vice-president Pratima Bhowmik said the advisory board of a state-level coordination committee, comprising BJP and IPFT leaders, had decided on the names of the BAC chairmen.
"There are 41 blocks in the state. We have announced the names of 28 BAC chairmen. Of them, 18 have been nominated from the BJP and 10 from the IPFT. The list was announced as per the mutual agreement with the IPFT and it was signed by IPFT general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia and me," she said.
When contacted, state BJP secretary Rajib Bhattacharya, who is also a member of the coordination committee, said a meeting would soon be convened to discuss the issues of conflict between the two ruling constituents and announce the names of the remaining 13 BAC chairmen.