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Former Cong Leader Claims BJP Controlling Party in Tripura, Blames Congress of Delhi-Centric Approach

Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma breaks his silence over various issues happening in the Congress party and his differences with the party General Secretary Luizinho Faleiro.

Sujit Nath | News18.com

Updated:November 3, 2019, 10:49 AM IST
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Former Cong Leader Claims BJP Controlling Party in Tripura, Blames Congress of Delhi-Centric Approach
File photo of Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma (Credits: Twitter)

Kolkata: The sole heir of the 800-year-old Manikya dynasty in Tripura, Maharaja Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma resigned from the Congress party on September 24, 2019. He was the working president of the Congress party in Tripura.

Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarma breaks his silence over various issues surrounding the Congress party and his differences with the party General Secretary Luizinho Faleiro. Here’s an excerpt from the interview.

What went wrong? Why you decided to resign after working for the Congress party for more than 18 years?

I felt that Congress party is not serious in handling the young leadership. Presently, Tripura Congress is controlled by the BJP MLAs. I raised this issue before the senior leaders in Delhi including Sonia Gandhiji. But nothing has happened. My issue with the Congress party was going on for the last one and half years. BJP leaders in Tripura are deciding what Congress should do. I was humiliated on several occasions. A section of senior Congress leaders went against me because I favoured National Register of Citizens (NRC). I am in favour of NRC and filed a case at Supreme Court. I cannot go against the sentiments of my people in Tripura. This further complicated my position in the party. I resigned because I was abandoned. They are not serious about the young leaders.

Do you think that Congress position could have much better in the Maharashtra and Haryana Assembly polls if they would have projected a CM face?

Congress should not be under any misassumption that they gained in Maharashtra and Haryana. I think Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) has gained in Maharashtra and Hoodas (Deepender Singh Hooda and Bhupinder Singh Hooda) have gained. In Maharashtra, Marathas voted for Marathas and in Haryana Jats voted for Jats.

Why is the Congress finding difficult to come up in most parts of India? Why do you think that Rahul Gandhi is reluctant to take over the party leadership?

There is vacuum today because Congress is too Delhi centric. Congress Working Committee (CWC) members are not even relevant in their home states. But people like Deepender Singh Hooda really worked hard. Many people will say that dynast are bad but look at Sharad Pawar. He has shown it in Maharashtra. Deshmukhs has shown it. Deepender Singh Hooda and Bhupinder Singh Hooda has shown it and so does Dushyant Chautala of Jannayak Janta Party. I felt that Congress has failed to give space to the community leaders who are really strong in their respective regions.

North-Eastern states was once known as a strong bastion of the Congress. At present, they are struggling to regain its lost ground. Why you think Congress is fading out?

Exactly, North-Eastern states were strong Congress bastion because it used to handle by big strong leaders of North East. It had leaders like Williamson A Sangma, Hiteswar Saikia, SC Jamir, Lal Thanhawla. Today who is there after Tarun Gogoi? There is no one because AICC has diminished the importance of North East by appointing a person (hinting at party General Secretary Luizinho Faleiro) who has no understanding about the North East. I told Sonia Gandhi that party need to invest in local leaders who are bold and honest. The party should also do the same in other states by highlighting the local leaders.

Do you believe that Delhi-centric Congress leaders are absolutely clueless about the ground realties across India, especially where the party is weak?

Yes I do. Not all leaders. There are leaders who are good and working hard for the party. We have leaders like Ahmed Patel, Sushmita Dev, Jyotiraditya Scindia, Sachin Pilot who are really care for the party but you also have some insignificant leaders in AICC who are not even known to people in their respective home states.

If you have so many grievances against a section of party leaders in the Congress Party, why you didn’t take the matter before Sonia Gandhi?

I was there a month ago, I had spoken to her. I gave my views and she was very receptive. Not only Tripura, I spoke to her about entire North East. I told her that Congress stand should be clear for the people of North East. I told her that Congress should invest in local leaders to handle North East.

Do you think Rahul Gandhi should take the leadership of the Congress party? Why he simply gave up?

I haven’t met him after Lok Sabha polls. We want Rahul Gandhi should take the lead in filling this vacuum in the party. I don’t know what is stopping him from taking the leadership but if you go through his resignation letter he said that he really tried but he was not given the help. I think he gave up because he felt that his own party who supported his mother is not backing him.

What is your take on Shiv Sena-BJP tussle in Maharashtra? Do you think that they should support NCP and Congress to form the government?

I think ideologically Shiv Sena is closer to the BJP. So ideally Shiv Sena should go with the BJP. But Aditya Thackeray is a refreshing change for Shiv Sena, Even BJP should give some space to young leaders like Aditya Thackeray. He became an immensely popular leader for his liberal view, which was welcomed by many people.

Coming to your home state, what are the major challenges the people of Tripura are facing? Why Congress failed in Tripura under your leadership?

Tribal people feel that they are alienated in their own home state. I think that sentiment is deep rooted. That is why I supported the NRC for my people in Tripura. Even people like Jishnu Dev Varma (Deputy CM) or you ask any tribal, they will support NRC. In ground realty, tribal people didn’t surrender before the BJP. They just fade up with the Left. You just cannot join hand with the Left in Tripura where people are actually looking for a change. Congress people in Delhi were soft towards Left in Tripura. I am sorry. I was against that. They (Congress and Left) have an alliance. Do you think that they will ensure each other’s victory? I think, in such situation the damage will be more in the Congress party.

How are you spending your time now a days? Are you joining BJP? What is your next plan?

I was offered a good position in BJP. Even today, I can simple walk in their office and join. But why should I. I have not uttered a single word against Sonia Gandhiji, Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi. I only raised my voice against the party general secretary. Presently, I am concentrating on my people in Tripura rather than wasting time on someone who is not serious to fight against the BJP in Tripura. I am not here to make money.

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