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Has PM adopted ‘bluff and rule’ policy for Tripura, asks Congress

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NEW DELHI, April 17: The Congress on Wednesday alleged that there is “rampant political violence” in BJP-ruled Tripura and questioned Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s “silence” on the issue.

Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh attacked the prime minister ahead of his Lok Sabha poll rally in Agartala, asking whether he has adopted a “bluff and rule” policy for Tripura.

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“Today’s questions for the PM as he heads to Tripura: Does the PM approve of the BJP’s rampant political violence in Tripura? Has the PM adopted a bluff and rule policy for Tripura as well?” Ramesh asked in a post on X.

What is the prime minister’s vision to eradicate child malnutrition in Tripura, he asked.

“Jumla details follow: On April 2nd, a Congress publicity vehicle was forcefully seized by a group of BJP associates. According to eyewitnesses, the driver was coerced into a nearby jungle at Brinda Chowmuhani where the assailants completely ransacked the vehicle and set fire to all its posters, flags and banners,” Ramesh alleged in his post.

Sadly, this is just the latest in a string of political violence committed by the BJP since coming to power in 2018 in Tripura, he claimed.

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Ramesh said reports suggest that about 25 opposition party workers have been “murdered” in the last six years. In 2021 alone, Tripura reported 64 cases of political violence, in which 136 people were injured, he said.

“The BJP’s actions strike at the heart of our democratic values. Is the PM doing anything at all to ensure that the perpetrators face the consequences for their actions? Is his silence a tacit approval of this violence?” Ramesh asked.

In their manifesto for the 2023 assembly elections in Tripura , the BJP made vague promises to Tripura’s tribal communities on the issue of Greater Tipraland, he said.

The manifesto stated that they would take steps for granting “legislative, more executive and administrative powers to the tribal council”, he pointed out.

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Noting that the Centre signed a “Tripartite Agreement” with the state government and the Tipra Motha in 2024, Ramesh said the agreement made a deliberately vague promise to “amicably resolve all issues of indigenous people” in a “time-bound manner.”

“This ‘Tripartite Agreement’, more of an eyewash than a substantive document, cleared the way for Tipra Motha to join the NDA (BJP-led National Democratic Alliance), but achieved little else for Tripura’s tribal peoples. A month later, it is still unclear what the BJP’s stance is on the tribal people’s demand for greater autonomy,” he said.

Is this lack of clarity deliberate and an extension of the “bluff and rule” strategy the BJP has employed in Nagaland and elsewhere in the Northeast, he asked.

“The NFHS-5 (National Family Health Survey) data reveals a significant issue with child nutrition in Tripura. There has been an increase in stunting, wasting and underweight children. In the four years between NFHS-4 (2015-16) and NFHS-5 (2019-2021), the percentage of stunted children increased from 24 per cent to 32 per cent. Since NFHS-4, the proportion of kids who are underweight (26 per cent) or wasted (18 per cent) has not improved,” he claimed.

The BJP government that came to power in 2018 appears to have achieved very little on this front, the Congress general secretary said.

“Since the prime minister has shown a newfound interest in the diet of INDIA bloc leaders, can he also share his vision to improve nutritional outcomes for Tripura’s children?” Ramesh said and asked the prime minister to break his silence on these issues. (PTI)

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