In a boost to the BJP ahead of the Tripura Assembly elections which are due this year, five leaders of the Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) joined the saffron party in Agartala. IPFT leaders - Subhash Reang and Debendra Debbarma - and three youth leaders of the party - Ramananda Debbarma, Pushrai Debbarma and Sunil Tripura joined BJP at the state party headquarters in Agartala.
Tripura BJP in-charge, Sunil Deodhar handed them saffron flags and inducted them in the party, BJP Tripura spokesperson, Mrinal Kanti Deb told reporters. Deodhar claimed that more leaders from other parties would join the BJP during the visit of the party national president, Amit Shah on January 7. "If anybody with clean image wants to join our party, they are welcome", he said.
Asked about the prospect of alliance with IPFT, Deodhar, a National Executive member of BJP said, "We can forge alliance with a party who are not divisive. Unless they leave the demand for a separate state by carving out a portion of Tripura, we cannot make any alliance with them". When contacted, over phone, IPFT general secretary, Mewar Kumar Jamatiya, said, "Someone informed us about the joining. But I can tell you that those people do not belong to our party and even I do not know them".
When asked about alliance with BJP, he said, "We have identified our common enemy, CPI-M, which is in power for the last 25 years. So, we are trying to find a way of alliance with BJP", he told PTI. When informed that the BJP has ruled out the possibility of alliance unless you set aside your demand for a separate state, he said, "Somehow, we would work out the ways for materialising an alliance with them, because ousting CPI-M from power is more important than anything"