15 June, 2021

Ethnic Bloodlines

The colour red may prevail if the old genie isn't reawakened

Swapan Nayak
Ethnic Bloodlines
On paper, it is a straight contest in Tripura between the ruling Left Front and the alliance between the Congress and the Indigenous Nationalist Peoples of 'Twipra' (INPT). On the ground, though, the central government—through the army and paramilitary forces—could well essay a role that could swing things in the Left's favour. The Congress manifesto harks back to its 1988 electoral success when its alliance with the tribals—comprising 30 per cent of the state's population—had paid off. In that election, a lethal combination of killings of non-tribals and partisan army action had toppled the Left Front. This time, however, New Delhi's assurance that it will do its best to ensure a violence-free poll may help it retain power.

The INPT's links with the banned National Liberation Front of Tripura (NLFT) are well known and many Congressmen say they cannot understand why the party high command overruled state leader Samir Ranjan Burman's reservations about aligning with it. Says chief minister Manik Sarkar, "It is for a national party like the Congress to explain why it...

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