Dental surgeon-turned-politician and Tripura BJP President Manik Saha would be sworn-in as 12th Chief Minister of the state on Sunday, after a sudden political development saw incumbent Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb resign from his post on Saturday.
Party sources have not yet disclosed clearly whether Saha would take the oath alone or any other new minister would be sworn-in along with him.
Saha, 69, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the lone seat in Tripura on March 31, was on Saturday elected as the BJP legislative party leader following which he met Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya and staked claim to form the government with a letter of support from the party MLAs.
Father of two daughters, Saha has to be elected to the state Assembly within the next six months. After the hurriedly-called BJP legislative party meeting, Deb announced Saha’s name for the top post, stating that he would extend full cooperation to the new Chief Minister.
Saha, also a professor at the Tripura Medical College and B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital in Agartala, as well as the President of the Tripura Cricket Association, joined the BJP in 2015.
In 2021, Saha, a close associate of outgoing Chief Minister Deb, became the President of the Tripura BJP Pradesh Committee.
Earlier in the day, Deb, who returned here on Saturday after meeting the central party leaders in Delhi, including BJP President J.P. Nadda, immediately went to the Raj Bhavan and resigned from his post.
Tripura, since May 2019, has been witnessing waves of revolt by dissident BJP MLAs and leaders against Deb, who also subsequently announced to obtain a public manadate by calling a public meeting though the move was later cancelled following the intervention of the central leaders.
The election to the 60-member Tripura Assembly is due in January-February next year. After resigning from the CM’s post, Deb, also a former state BJP President, said that for the interest of the party and considering the Assembly elections due next year, he resigned from the Chief Minister’s post.
“Whatever responsibility the party gave me, I tried to perform with utmost sincerity and honesty. Now if the party decides that I will have to work for the organisation, I will do that. During my tenure as the Chief Minister, I tried to bring justice to the people, and tried to undertake developmental and welfare works for the all-round development of Tripura,” Deb told the media.
Deb became the Chief Minister on March 9, 2018 after the BJP-IPFT alliance came to power by defeating the Left Front in the Assembly elections, ending the latter’s 25-year rule.
Amid open resentment by a section of the BJP MLAs and leaders, the cabinet expansion took place on August 31 last year, which saw the induction of three ministers, even as the dissident MLAs and party leaders boycotted the swearing-in-ceremony.
Since the BJP-IPFT government assumed office in 2018, three ministerial berths were lying vacant and in May 2019, former Health and Information Technology Minister Sudip Roy Barman was sacked following differences with the Chief Minister, taking the number of vacancies to four.
Amid revolt by a section of BJP MLAs and leaders, several senior central party leaders visited Tripura on a number of occasions to quell the internal disputes and also to plug the shortcomings, both in the government and the organisation.
Dissident BJP MLAs Sudip Roy Barman and Ashis Kumar Saha, who resigned from the Assembly and the party on February 7 this year, joined the Congress in New Delhi the next day.
Earlier, BJP MLA Ashish Das, after openly criticising the saffron party and its leadership, including Deb, joined the Trinamool Congress on October 31 last year following which he was disqualified from the Tripura Assembly.
Roy Barman, six other MLAs and many leaders quit the Congress in 2016 and joined Trinamool Congress and next year (2017) they joined the BJP and helped the saffron party win the elections in 2018.
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