BJP leader Biplab Kumar Deb, who was ousted as Tripura Chief Minister in a sudden move by the party leadership, told NDTV that he will continue to perform his duty as a disciplined soldier of the BJP and the party will decide the next course of action for him.
“Whatever new role the party leadership gives me, I will do my duty. 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 took many by surprise, Mr Deb submitted his resignation to Tripura Governor Satyadev Narayan Arya yesterday, a year before the assembly elections.
In a hurriedly convened legislature party meeting, Mr Deb named Manik Saha, Rajya Sabha MP and state BJP chief, as the new choice for the chief minister’s post.
The meeting witnessed a dramatic scene as several MLAs were upset that they were not consulted about the change and the BJP leadership took a sudden decision. One of the MLAs, Ram Prasad Paul, also broke some chairs to protest the move.
Mr Deb also said it was an “emotional” moment for him and his supporters. He said, “I have worked with full dedication, so it is natural for me to be emotional. Every Indian is emotional. It is natural for the leaders and MLAs who have worked with me to be emotional.”
However, he said, Tripura now has a stable government and with elections being held next year, they should start working at the grassroots level.
“The government is very stable now and with elections approaching, it is time for me to hit ground zero,” the 50-year-old leader told NDTV.
Appointed state BJP chief in 2017, Mr Deb led the party’s campaign in the 2018 assembly elections, when the BJP ended the Left Front’s 25-year rule in Tripura. During his four-year tenure at the top post, Mr Deb made headlines with a series of controversial statements that turned the party red.
Mr. Saha, who will succeed Mr. Deb, is a 69-year-old dental surgeon-turned-politician. This March, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the lone seat of Tripura.
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 Tripura Cricket Association.
Mr Saha, considered close to Mr Deb, was appointed the state BJP unit president last year.
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