Mon, 16 May 2022 02:52 PM IST
Agartala/ New Delhi | Jagran Politics Desk: Continuing with its trend of making a leadership change just before polls are scheduled, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) appointed Dr Manik Saha as the Chief Minister of Tripura following the sudden resignation of Biplab Kumar Deb. On Sunday, Saha was sworn in as the Chief Minister while 11 BJP MLAs were inducted into the cabinet on Monday.
Immediately after his oath-taking ceremony, Saha said his government will prioritise completing the unfinished work of his predecessor Biplab Deb. However, he refuted reports of a rift between him and Deb and claimed the BJP will face no political challenge in the 2023 assembly elections.
"We will move forward with the development issue of PM Modi and the BJP. We will also enhance law and order in the state along with resolving the issues of the people of Tripura. There's no political challenge for us," Saha told news agency ANI.
"We have already started to work for the 2023 Assembly elections. My chemistry with Biplab Deb ji is very good and it will always remain good. Earlier also we had very good coordination when he was the chief minister and I was the state party president," he added.
Saha's appointment falls in line with the BJP's strategy of making a leadership change in a state just before assembly elections. The party did the same in Uttarakhand and emerge victorious in the 2022 assembly polls. Similarly, it made leadership changes in Gujarat and Karnataka, where polls will be held soon.
Why a sudden change was made in Tripura?
Biplab Deb was known for the trust of Prime Minister Narendra Modi which he enjoyed. However, local BJP leaders and its Tripura ally Indigenous People's Front of Tripura (IPFT) were not happy with Deb's style of working and had expressed their reservations against him to the party top brass.
Sources, quoted by news agency PTI, said the BJP leadership felt there was a need for change after an analysis was conducted by it and the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). They said immediate steps were needed to strengthen the BJP ahead of elections to the state assembly due within the next eight to nine months.
Was the rise of TIPRA Motha a factor?
According to PTI sources, the sudden rise of the Tripura Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance (TIPRA Motha) was also another factor. TIPRA Motha is a regional political party led by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarma that seeks a separate state for the indigenous people of Tripura.
In 2021, it swept the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC) elections - where it was in a direct contest with the ruling BJP-IPFT combine - and won 18 of the 28 seats.
The BJP top brass, according to PTI sources, feels it cannot challenge the TIPRA Motha in tribal-dominated areas. The TIPRA Motha is also mulling fielding candidates in 25 general seats for the 2023 Tripura assembly elections.
Why Saha was elected?
With hopes to end the infighting and counter the TIPRA Motha, the BJP elected 69-year-old Saha. The BJP feels that an "amiable" Saha would help it tackle the diverse issues left behind by Deb and defy the anti-incumbency factor, helping it retain power in Tripura, where a multi-cornered is expected between the Congress, Trinamool Congress (TMC), and the Left front.
In the previous assembly elections in 2018, the BJP-IPFT alliance formed the government in Tripura and ended the 25-year rule of the Left Front.