Royals wanted to merge Tripura with Pakistan

Agartala, Sep 19 (IANS) Some members of Tripura's erstwhile royal family had tried to merge the state with then East Pakistan and later tried to integrate the state with Assam, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar has revealed.

"Before the partition of India, a section in the royal family tried to merge Tripura with East Pakistan (now Bangladesh)," Sarkar told a seminar here Wednesday.

"But sensing the public sentiments, the last king of Tripura (Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya Bahadur) before his death had expressed his desire to keep Tripura with the Indian union," the chief minister said.

The king who ruled from 1923 died in 1947, the year India became free and the sub-continent was partitioned.

Sarkar, a member of the Communist Party of India-Marxist politburo, said that later a section of influential people and political leaders tried to merge Tripura with neighbouring Assam.

Historian and writer Pannalal Roy said: "The States Reorganisation Commission, constituted in 1953, proposed to merge Tripura with Assam."

However, after people began a struggle to keep Tripura as a full-fledged state of India, the central government dropped the merger plan, Sarkar said.

The seminar was organised on the occasion of the golden jubilee of the Tripura assembly to highlight the transition in the state from princely rule to democratic governance.

Inaugurating the seminar, Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar said parliament and state assemblies must run smoothly with high standards of debates to fulfill the hopes and aspirations of the people.

She stressed the need of more women lawmakers in both parliament and state assemblies.

Chief Minister Sarkar said: "Now people are not concerned what is going on in parliament and state assemblies. This is because the standards of debates in both parliament and assemblies gone down...

"Opposition parties must not oppose all steps of governments blindly. There must be a constructive and positive criticism of the government," he said.

A total of 140 former and incumbent legislators were felicitated on the occasion.

At the end of several hundred years of being ruled by 184 kings, the princely state of Tripura, along with Manipur, merged with the Indian union in October 1949.

It was then designated a union territory headed by a chief commissioner.

On July 1, 1963, the erstwhile Tripura territorial council was converted into the 30-seat Tripura legislative assembly by an act of parliament.

Congress leader Sachindra Lal Singh became the first chief minister, heading a five-member council of ministers.

Under the North Eastern Region (Reorganisation) Act, 1971, Tripura, Manipur and Meghalaya became full-fledged states Jan 21, 1972, each having a 60-seat assembly.

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