BJP, Congress mark last Tripura king's 111th birth anniversary

Agartala, Aug 19 (IANS) In an unprecedented move, the ruling BJP and opposition Congress leaders, besides the state government, on Monday separately celebrated the 111th birth anniversary of Tripura's last king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (1923-1947).

At the end of the 1,355-year rule by 184 kings, the erstwhile princely state of Tripura came under the control of the Indian government on October 15, 1949, after a merger agreement was signed between the regent Maharani Kanchan Prabha Devi and the Indian Governor General.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, along with the state Bharatiya Janata Party President, and Tripura Pradesh Congress President Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman, a scion of the royal family, described Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya as the "architect of modern Tripura".

Addressing an event organised by the BJP at the state party headquarters here, Deb said that the Maharaja showcased Tripura's history, life, culture and literature for the entire world.

"The BJP-led government would make Tripura a model state following the dream of the last king. We should all follow the vision of Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya," the Chief Minister said.

At a separate cevent, Congress leader Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman said that Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya is the first important personality in India who visited the Visva Bharati University at Santiniketan in West Bengal and conferred the title of 'Bharat Bhaskar' on the Nobel laureate poet Rabindranath Tagore.

The celebrations held at the royal palace complex was organised by the Tripura chapter of thye Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) headed by Maharaj Kumari Pragya Deb Burman, eleder sister of Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman.

The Tripura Chief Minister's wife, Niti Deb, in her address at the INTACH function described Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya as an open-minded visionary king.

Agartala airport, which was built in 1942 by the then Tripura king Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya, was renamed last year as a tribute to the the last ruler.

The BJP-led government has organised many events over Sunday and Monday to celebrate the 111th birth anniversary of the former ruler.

The previous Left Front government set up a state university named after the last king, who contributed a lot to enlarge the educational facilities in Tripura.

--IANS

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