Kolkata: Sitting with his aunt in the spectacular Ujayanta Palace, the 40-year-old Tripura Congress president just received a ‘gift’ in disguise. Not only did his aunt, senior BJP leader Vasundhara Raje, paid him a visit but the newly elected BJP government in state fulfilled his long-standing dream.
After its first cabinet meeting on Saturday, the BJP-IPFT government announced that Agartala airport will be named after the last reigning king of Tripura, Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur.
Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee working president Pradyot Kishore Manikya, the sole heir of the 800-year-old Manikya dynasty, thanks Chief Minister Biplab Deb for renaming the airport after his grandfather.
Despite the political war between the grand old party and the saffron party, the move came as a pleasant surprise for the people. And adding to the newly emerged, hidden cordial relations, the 40-year-old’s aunt landed in the state capital.
“A personal visit by my aunt and Rajasthan CM Vasundhara Raje and Cousin Dushyant Singh earlier today (Saturday) at the Ujayanta Palace, Agartala. It is indeed important to maintain family relations despite contrary political views. Really glad to see that we still maintain family relationships which is extremely important,” Pradyot Kishore Manikya wrote on social networking site, Facebook.
Unlike in other states, the young Congress president in Tripura is more irked by the Left than the BJP. Manikya feels that the spirit of Tripura was fettered by the CPI (M), and that the party’s loss is a consequence of misgovernment on part of their leaders.
“The communists not only neglected public distress, but denied the royal family basic dignity and honour. They carried out malicious propaganda against the Maharajas - the tribal kings of Tripura, and their contribution to the society in various sectors,” Manikya said, adding that he is happy that finally Maharaja Bir Bikram has been given the due recognition.
It was Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore, who built the first airport in Tripura. He was the king of Tripura before the kingdom’s accession to India in 1949. Bir Bikram Kishore is considered the father of modern architecture in Tripura - the entire planning of present day state was initiated during his rule. He is also considered one of the pioneers in land reforms.
“Renaming the airport after my grandfather was already in BJP and Congress manifesto. Chief Minister Biplab Deb had personally assured me and I am glad that he fulfilled his promise,” he said.
Manikya now hopes to revive the Congress party in Tripura and emerge as a viable opposition to the ruling BJP.
“Today we find ourselves at the same spot where BJP was in 2013 – when they had only 1.3 per cent vote share in Tripura. We have to rebuild the party from scratch. This time, we gave chance to youngsters. The rot in the party had already switched over to the one in power now,” he remarked.
The royal scion said that he was never the one to jump ship or look for greener pastures. He had earlier claimed that the BJP tried to woo him by offering the post of the state’s chief minister if he abandoned the Congress and switched over to the saffron side. He said the party also offered him a seat in the Rajya Sabha after he turned down their initial offer.