Agartala: BJP MLA Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl, who resigned from the Tripura Assembly on Wednesday, giving another jolt to the ruling party ahead of the Assembly polls, would join the opposition Congress on Thursday.
State Congress President Birajt Sinha and party’s lone MLA Sudip Roy Barman separately told IANS that Hrangkhawl, along with few other leaders of different parties, would join the Congress at a big public meeting here on Thursday.
Roy Barman, six other MLAs including Hrangkhawl and many leaders quit the Congress in 2016 and joined the Trinamool Congress. However, the next year, they joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.
Roy Barman and three BJP MLAs – Burba Mohan Tripura, Ashis Das, and Ashis Kumar Saha – quit the saffron party separately this year.
Das joined the Trinamools last year but quit it in May this year while Roy Barman, also a former Minister, and Saha joined the Congress in February this year.
Burba Mohan Tripura joined the influential tribal-based party Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA), headed by former royal scion Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman.
A veteran tribal leader, Hrangkhawl, who was elected to the Assembly from the Karanchara Assembly seat in northern Tripura’s Unakoti district, is the 5th BJP MLA and 8th MLA of the BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) ruling alliance to quit since last year.
Accompanied by several Congress leaders, including former MLA Saha, the 66-year-old lawmaker submitted his resignation letter to Assembly Secretary Bishnu Pada Karmakar on Wednesday as Speaker Ratan Chakraborty is away from Tripura.
“Hrangkhawl’s resignation would be accepted by the Speaker once he returns to the state, ” Karmakar told IANS.
Hrangkhawl, who was elected to the state Assembly four times since 1988, after submitting his resignation letter, told the media that he has quit the party and the membership of the Assembly on personal grounds.
“I would decide my future course of action very soon, ” said the tribal leader, who was close to BJP-turned Congress MLA and former minister Sudip Roy Barman.
BJP’s ally IPFT MLAs — Mevar Kumar Jamatia, Brishaketu Debbarma and Dhananjoy Tripura also quit the party and the Assembly before joining the TIPRA following open differences with the ruling parties and the government.
The TIPRA is now ruling the politically-important 30-member Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC).
Assembly elections to Tripura, Meghalaya and Nagaland are expected to be held in February 2023.
The BJP, in alliance with the tribal-based party IPFT, came to power in the 2018 assembly polls thrashing the CPI-M led Left parties, which governed the northeastern state for 35 year in two phases (1978-1988 and 1993-2018).
In the last assembly polls, the BJP and IPFT secured 36 and 8 seats respectively in the 60 member house while the CPI-M bagged 16 seats.