Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma is an Indian journalist, social activist, politician, businessman, and the titular ruler of Tripura, belonging to the Manikya Dynasty. He made headlines after he left the Indian National Congress (INC) in 2019 and founded his political party Tipra Motha Party (TMP) in 2021. In the 2023 Tripura Assembly polls, several media sources referred to him as a “kingmaker.”
Kirit Pradyot Manikya Deb Barman Bahadur was born on Tuesday, 4 July 1978 (age 44 years; as of 2022) in New Delhi, India. His zodiac sign is Cancer. After completing his schooling, Pradyot enrolled at St. Edmund’s College in Shillong, Meghalaya, where he completed his formal education.
Height (approx.): 5′ 7″
Hair Colour: Salt and Pepper
Eye Colour: Dark Brown
Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma was born into the royal family from the Manikya Dynasty in Tripura.
Parents & Siblings
His father, Kirit Bikram Kishore Deb Barman, was a politician and the 185th ruler of Tripura. Kirit Bikram served as a parliamentarian in 1967, 1977, and 1989.
His mother, Bibhu Kumari Devi, was a politician, who was elected as a parliamentarian in 1991. She is the Rajmata of the royal family in Tripura. He has two sisters. His sister Kumari Pragya Debbarma is a politician.
Wife & Children
As of March 2023, he is unmarried.
Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma follows Hinduism.
He resides at Ujjayanta Palace (Nuyungma in the Tripuri language) in Agartala, Tripura.
In July 2007, he founded a news magazine titled TheNortheastToday (TNT) and became its editor-in-chief. Later, he announced that TNT would stop printing news magazines and would publish its content on the internet.
Pradyot owns The Heritage Club – Tripura Castle, a hotel, which was the summer residence for the rulers of the Manikya Dynasty’s rulers.
Following in his father’s footsteps, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma joined the Indian National Congress (INC) and began participating in the election campaign for the INC. In February 2015, he was appointed as the President of the Tripura Pradesh Congress Committee (TPCC). In 2018, he campaigned extensively for his sister, Kumari Pragya, who was contesting the 2019 Lok Sabha elections from the Tripura East Lok Sabha constituency. Pradyot left the Indian National Congress in September 2019. In an interview, Pradyot claimed that he resigned after the INC tried to force him to place corrupt politicians in high-ranking positions in the INC in Tripura. He also accused the senior leaders of the INC of neglecting the demands of the state. Several sources reported that he had filed a petition in a court in Tripura, seeking implementation of the NRC, which was not liked by senior Congress leaders. Talking about it, he said,
I have resigned from all posts of the Congress a few days ago. The party high command had asked me to compromise with a section of state leaders, but I told them it was not possible. Then they asked me to withdraw the litigation that I have filed for the introduction of NRC (National Register of Citizens) in Tripura, but I did not agree to it, too.”
In 2019, Pradyot founded a social movement organisation named Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA) to protest against the implementation of the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Tripura. Through the organisation, he demanded abolishing the CAA and the implementation of the NRC in the state. On 5 February 2021, he converted TIPRA into a political party and renamed it the Tipra Motha Party (TMP).
Later, Pradyot announced that the TMP would contest the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections and allied with the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT).
In April 2021, Pradyot contested and won the TTAADC elections from the Takarjala-Jampuijala constituency, reserved for the candidate of the Scheduled Tribe (ST), in Tripura and managed to secure 13,164 votes. His party won 16 out of the 28 seats while the INPT secured two seats. On 11 June 2021, indigenous parties like the Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT), the Tipraland State Party (TSP), and IPFT (Tipraha) were amalgamated into TMP. Before the 2023 Assembly polls in Tripura, Pradyot claimed that he was approached by many national parties to form an alliance. He, however, declined their offer and said that he was willing to join hands only if the political parties give it in writing that after coming to power, they would felicitate the formation of Greater Tipraland, a separate state for the indigenous Tripuri people from the tribal areas of the Tripura state. He further claimed that he was offered money and a high-ranking post in the state government for forming an alliance with the political parties. Talking about it, he said,
I do not believe in the mere words of leaders. You are educated. Give us in writing what you will give to Tiprasas. If you cannot give in writing, do not try to buy me. These leaders fight for the next elections while my fight is for the next generation. This is the difference between a leader and a king. I will not live forever. This is my last fight for you. I will not take money or post with me. When I die, people need to say that Pradyot Kishore fought for his community….”
In the 2023 Tripura state assembly, TIPRA fielded candidates in 42 out of 60 constituencies; however, Pradyot did not contest the elections. Later, several media sources reported that Pradyot would retire from politics post-2023 assembly elections in Tripura. The reports were later trashed by him.
Pradyot has also served as the chairman of a Non-governmental Organisation (NGO) named Royal Tripura Foundation. The Foundation runs Maharaja Kirit Bikram Memorial School, which provides education to poor children residing in the tribal areas of Tripura. The foundation not only provides healthcare services but also promotes sports as well as teaches the tribal locals methods of preserving nature.
Demand for Greater Tipraland
Soon after joining politics, Pradyot began demanding the formation of Greater Tipraland, a separate state for the indigenous Tripuris carved out from the state of Tripura. According to Pradyot, he began to realise that people in Tripura were marginalised based on their ethnicity after the police arrested his sister, Kumari Pragya, without a warrant or any evidence in 1996. Talking about it, in an interview, he said,
It was 25th February, 1996 and 1:30 am, I remember the date because I was watching the Champions League (football match). There was a knock at the door, and my chowkidaar (security guard) informed [me] that a few armed men are at the gate. Turned out they were policemen, who without a warrant or any evidence arrested my sister, just on the basis of her ethnicity. That was the first time that I felt acutely conscious of my ethnicity.”
For demanding a separate state, Pradyot has often been accused of stirring communalism between the Tripuris and non-Tripuris, especially the Bengalis living in Tripura. However, Pradyot has often defended himself by saying that his demands are legal as they fall under the provisions of the constitution of India. Many politicians have claimed that his demand is impractical as it would include ceding parts of Assam and a few other northeastern states. Pradyot, however, detested the claims and said that he does not wish to lay claim on the territory of any state. In an interview, while talking about it, he said,
Nobody wants an inch of Assam. Mizoram and Arunachal, I think, want an inch of Assam. Meghalaya wants a pie of Assam. Not me. This is not a demand similar to that of the Nagas who want parts of Manipur and Burma. I have educated people in my party and I would never say something that goes beyond the boundaries of our Constitution.”
Slapping a boy in front of the cops
In 2018, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barma attracted controversy after he slapped a boy accused of attacking Kumari Pragya’s convoy at Tulasikhar in Khowai district while she was campaigning for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. Pradyot, along with his supporters, entered the police station and slapped the boy while he was being held at the Khowai police station for questioning. Later, the police registered an FIR against Pradyot and sent him a notice. In an interview, the spokesperson of the police force said,
We would serve a notice within two days to Tripura Pradesh Congress president Deb Barman under section 41 A of Cr Pc to appear before the investigating officer. Under the latest order of the Supreme Court, the police cannot arrest Deb Barman without completion of the investigation. We are looking into the matter as per law.”
Pradyot later said that if an arrest warrant is issued against him, he would go to jail and not apply for anticipatory bail. Talking about it, he said,
If they (police) want to put me in jail, let them to do so. I shall not seek anticipatory bail from the court.”
He owns a Yamaha MT-01.
- Morgan Plus 4.
- Hummer H2.
- Sport: Cricket, Football
- Sportsperson: Sunil Gavaskar, Diego Maradona, Gabriel Batistuta
- Football Club: FC Barcelona
- Music Band: Guns N’ Roses, Skid Row
- Musician: Axl Rose from Guns N’ Roses, Sebastian Bach
- Pradyot is also known as Bubagra, which means king in the Kokborok language.
- Several media sources report his name as Pradyot Bikram Manikya Debbarman.
- Pradyot is a polyglot and can fluently speak Hindi, English, Bengali, Khasi, and Kokborok.
- He has a tattoo of his favourite pet dogs, Mixu and Mutt, inked on his left shoulder. He also has a tattoo on one of his arms.
- Pradyot is an avid dog lover and has more than a hundred dogs.
- Pradyot is the co-owner of Shillong Lajong Football Club.
- In an interview, Pradyot said that he wanted to pursue a career in the field of law. He, however, had to give up on his dreams after the demise of his father.
- In his leisure time, Pradyot likes to play the guitar.
- Pradyot occasionally consumes alcoholic beverages.
- Pradyot follows a non-vegetarian diet.
- Pradyot has worked as an advisor to the North East Students Committee and the North East Regional Development Association (NERDA). He has also worked as a member of Tripura Central University’s governing council.
- In an interview, Pradyot said that he was once about to be disembarked from a flight in the United States of America as he was drunk and was reeking of alcohol. He further said that the incident took place after attending a party with Axl Rose, the Guns N’ Roses musician.
- He made a guest appearance in the 2021 Bollywood film Sandeep Aur Pinky Faraar.
- Pradyot has often voiced his opinion in the favour of revoking the Armed Forces Special Powers Act (AFSPA) in the northeastern states of India.