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Shortly after being named the new president of Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debburman on Saturday met former CM Samir Ranjan Barman at his Agartala residence and welcomed him back with a pledge to work towards reviving lost political grounds in the state. Barman was expelled from the party in March 2017.

Addressing a press conference at Tripura Pradesh Congress Bhavan in the evening, Pradyot said that he aims at building a party with the participation of educated and honest people, including youth, women, professionals. “It is my personal ambition to bring in youth, women, professionals, graduates – people who will work with honesty and integrity. I think what we need most at this hour is clean politics,” Pradyot Kishore said in his first ever address as the state Congress chief.

Former PCC president Birajit Sinha, who shared the dais with Pradyot last week to discuss committees formed eyeing the forthcoming Parliament elections, was not present at the media briefing today. Former PCC president and senior leader Gopal Chandra Roy and few other leaders also skipped the briefing.

However, estranged leaders like former All India Youth Congress (AIYC) leader Baptu Chakraborty was seen with Pradyot, along with vice president Tapas Dey, spokesperson Harekrishna Bhowmik, former minister Billal Miah, former minister Laxmi Nag and others.

Congress, which had 10 MLAs in the state Assembly in 2013, was reduced to a party with less than 2 per cent votes and zero MLAs in assembly elections last year in February. A large number of leaders led by former Pradesh Congress president Sudip Roy Barman defected to Trinamool Congress in 2016. They further shifted camp and joined BJP in 2017.

Asked about his policy for running the party, the new president Pradyot Kishore said he would give due respect to everyone and expect cooperation from them in return. “I believe that no problem should be there if we give everyone their due respect. I have decided to take former Chief Minister Samir Ranjan Barman to New Delhi and have him meet Congress president Rahul Gandhi. I shall also talk with all other leaders and take their advice,” the 39-year-old leader said.
He also said that he would work towards building a “BJP Mukt Northeast” in the Lok Sabha elections. Pradyot claimed that people, especially youth are frustrated due to unfulfilled, tall claims made by BJP and Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) in the state.

On a recent magisterial enquiry report on the police firing on the Citizenship Bill protesters at Madhabbari in West Tripura on January 8 this year, Pradyot accused the incumbent BJP-IPFT government of safeguarding those responsible for the incident by scapegoating Prankrishna Das, Sub-Divisional Police Officer (SDPO) of Jirania.

On Friday, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb said in a statement in the state Assembly that action would be taken against the SDPO of Jirania and a doctor for their role in the Madhabbari incident.