BJP leader Biplab Kumar Deb, who was suddenly ousted by the party leadership as Chief Minister of Tripura, has told DailyExpertNews that he will continue to fulfill his duty as a disciplined soldier of the BJP and that the party will decide the next step for him.
“I will fulfill my duty in whatever new role the party leadership gives me. I cannot decide, it is the party that will decide the next step for me. I will follow. We are disciplined soldiers of the BJP,” he said. .
In a political development that surprised many, Mr Deb yesterday handed over his resignation to Tripura Governor Satyadeo Narayan Arya, a year ahead of the Assembly polls.
At a hastily convened meeting of the legislative party, Mr Deb put forward the name of Rajya Sabha MP and BJP state chief Manik Saha as the new choice for the post of Chief Minister.
The meeting saw dramatic scenes as many MLAs were upset that they had not been consulted about the change and the BJP leadership made the decision abruptly. One of the MLAs, Ram Prasad Paul, also broke a few chairs to protest the move.
Deb also said it’s an “emotional” moment for him and his supporters. “I’ve worked with complete dedication, so it’s normal to feel emotional. Every Indian is emotional. It’s normal for leaders and MLAs who have worked with me to feel emotional,” he said.
However, he said Tripura now has a stable government and with elections next year, he should start working on the grassroots.
“The government is now very stable and with the elections approaching, it is time for me to reach zero,” the 50-year-old leader told DailyExpertNews.
Deb, who was appointed state BJP chief in 2017, led the party’s campaign in the 2018 Assembly polls, when the BJP ended the 25-year rule of the Left Front in Tripura. During his four-year tenure in top office, Mr Deb made headlines with a series of controversial statements that left the party red.
Mr Saha, who will succeed Mr Deb, is a 69-year-old oral surgeon turned politician. In March, he was elected to Rajya Sabha from Tripura’s sole seat.
A professor and head of the department of Tripura Medical College and BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital in Agartala, Mr. Saha joined the BJP in 2016. He is also the president of the Tripura Cricket Association.
Mr Saha, who is known as his neighbor Deb, was appointed president of the state BJP unit last year.