Agartala, July 1 (IANS) A section in the then ruling Tripura royal family had tried to merge the northeastern princely state with East Pakistan, Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar revealed Monday.
"A section in the former royal family had tried to merge Tripura with the then East Pakistan (now Bangladesh). But the last king of Tripura (Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (1923-1947) before his death, had expressed his desire to keep Tripura with the Indian union," Sarkar said while addressing the special one-day session of the state assembly to celebrate its golden jubilee.
Sarkar, of the Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPI-M) who has been ruling the state since 1998, said: "To strengthen democracy, ruling party must be responsive towards the voices of the opposition parties."
"If the ruling and opposition parties work together for the welfare of the people, democracy would be more strengthened," he said.
Cutting across party lines, assembly members said that during the 550-year princely rule (until October 1949), development of people and the previous sovereign country was bogged down as the then kings were not keen for the wellbeing of the people, specially the tribals, even though the rulers were tribals themselves.
Deputy Speaker Pabitra Kar said a series of programmes would be organised to mark 50 years of the Tripura assembly, which had shifted to a newly built sprawling three-storey assembly building in July 2011 from the 112-year-old royal palace.
A seminar would be organised on the occasion in August to highlight the transition of Tripura from princely rule to democratic governance. Lok Sabha Speaker Meira Kumar would be the chief guest at the seminar.
At the end of several hundred years of rule by 184 kings, the princely state, 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, with a council of ministers.
Veteran Congress leader Sachindra Lal Singh became the first chief minister of the state, 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.