New Delhi, May 14: BJP’s Rajya Sabha MP Manik Saha will take oath as the chief minister of Tripura on Sunday after Biplab Kumar Deb resigned from the post in a surprise move ahead of the Assembly elections due next year. The swearing-in will take place at 11.30 am.
He was elected the legislature party leader at a meeting at the CM’s official residence soon after a crestfallen Deb tendered his resignation to Governor SN Arya.
As Deb proposed the 69-year-old Saha’s name in the meeting, minister Ram Prasad Paul protested, which led to a scuffle among MLAs. Paul also broke a few chairs before the situation was calmed, sources said.
Paul wanted deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Varma, a member of the erstwhile Tripura royal family, as the next chief minister of the state, they said.
Opposition parties claimed that the BJP replaced the chief minister as Deb failed to fulfil the promises of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, but the move will not succeed in the assembly election.
Senior BJP leaders Bhupender Yadav and Vinod Tawde were observers for the election of the legislature party leader.
“I was a common worker of the party and will continue to be so,” Saha told reporters after being named the next chief minister.
Deb, 50, resigned a day after meeting Union Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda in New Delhi.
Nadda later congratulated Saha and expressed confidence that he will lead the state towards progress and development
“Party is above all. I am a loyal worker of the BJP. I hope I have done justice to the responsibilities that were given to me — whether it was as BJP state president or as Tripura chief minister. I have worked for the overall development of Tripura, and to ensure peace for the people of the state,” Deb said after resigning.
During his tenure as Tripura CM, Deb had made headlines often because of his controversial statements – from hinting at the existence of the Internet during the Mahabharata era to questioning whether Diana Hayden deserved to win the Miss World title and whether she or Aishwarya Rai symbolised true ‘Indian beauty’.
Congratulating Saha on being elected the new legislative party leader, Deb said he hopes the new CM will complete the works undertaken by him.
“The 2023 election is coming, and the party wants a responsible organiser to take charge of the affairs here. A government can only be formed if the organisation is strong,” he said, explaining the party’s decision to give him organisational responsibilities.
Deb was appointed the chief minister after the BJP stormed to power in 2018, ending 25 years of Left Front rule in the North-eastern state.
with PTI inputs