Congress calls 12-hour Tripura shutdown over ‘BJP conspiracy’

Agartala, July 17 (IANS) Opposition Congress on Monday night called a 12-hour shutdown in Tripura on Wednesday to protest what it called “conspiracy of BJP ahead of state assembly elections and to instigate tribal parties to create chaos in the state”.

The Congress also accused the ruling Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M)-led Left Front government for “remaining silent over the eight-day national highway and lone railway route blockade by the IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) demanding a separate tribal state”.
“We have called a 12-hour strike across Tripura on July 19 against the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP)’s conspiracy to disturb peace in Tripura. The BJP, as in other states, is funding the conspirators and parties involved in the political turmoil to gain political mileage,” Tripura Congress President Birajit Sinha told the media.
He also charged the Left government with “failure to deal with the IPFT’s illegitimate demand for a separate state and blocking the vital national highway and lone railway line”.
“BJP-led central government remained completely inactive while a tribal party stopped plying of vehicles through a crucial national highway and obstructed solitary railway line. Both the highway and the railway line are under the control of central government,” the Congress leader pointed out.
The CPI-M, however, opposed the dawn-to-dusk strike on Wednesday.
The BJP, which strongly denied the Congress’ allegations, also threatened to launch agitations from Tuesday against the road and railway blockade and “Left Front government’s failure to handle the situation”.
The IPFT has been blockading National Highway-8, the lifeline of Tripura, and the lone railway line since July 10, leading to shortage of essential commodities, fuel, food grain and other goods of basic necessity.
A senior Tripura Home Department official said that on the request of Chief Minister Manik Sarkar, Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh had asked his deputy Kiren Rijiju on Monday to talk to the IPFT leaders on Tuesday afternoon.
IPFT General Secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia and front’s youth wing President Dhananjoy Tripura have been camping in New Delhi since Thursday.
The IPFT has been agitating since 2009 for a separate state to be carved out by upgrading the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which has jurisdiction over two-thirds of Tripura’s 10,491 area, home to over 12,16,000 people, mostly tribals, of the state’s 37-lakh population.
Most political parties, including the ruling CPI-M and the Congress, the BJP , and the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura have rejected the IPFT demand, saying it was not practical to divide the already small state.
The IPFT has sought the Governor’s intervention and a tripartite meeting between them, Centre and the state government to resolve their issue.
Chief Minister Sarkar on Monday night met Governor Tathagata Roy, who returned to Tripura from New Delhi same day.
“The Chief Minister and the Governor discussed the road and rail blockade issue,” a Raj Bhavan official said refusing to divulge further details.

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