Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb finally resigned on Saturday (May14) putting to rest intense speculation over the past few months about his continuation in the top post.
Deb submitted his resignation after a two-day trip to New Delhi where he had met with BJP party chief J P Nadda and Union Home Minister Amit Shah. The change of guard in this north-eastern state comes barely eight months before the 2023 Assembly polls in the state.
Deb assumed the chief minister’s post in 2018, after the BJP formed the government in alliance with the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) in the state, for the first time. It ended the nearly 25-year-long rule of the Left Front.
While BJP spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty told the media that they cannot react to the development until the matter is discussed with the BJP President, a national daily quoted sources in the BJP party, which revealed that a new leader will be elected this evening.
The report said that Union Environment Minister Bhupendra Yadav and BJP general secretary Vinod Tawde have been appointed as Central observers by Nadda to hold a meeting of the BJP’s legislative party and elect a new leader by this evening.
Deb’s reign has been marked by lawlessness and authoritarian rule, bordering on dictatorship. The ruling BJP government had gone after rival CPI (I) party members, jailed social media activists and harassed and assaulted journalists. However, the rampant corruption and consistent violation of administrative norms, lack of jobs and fast-eroding avenues of earning coupled with growing dissidence in the ruling party here, compelled the complacent central leadership to take note.
In June, a three-member central BJP team led by B L Santosh visited the state and took views of party leaders and MLAs regarding the state of affairs in Tripura. It is now in public domain that at least 23 of altogether 36 BJP MLAs had spoken against the style of functioning and overall performance of Deb.
This report coupled with feedback sent by agencies made the central BJP leadership, including the party’s national president JP Nadda, led to the end of Deb’s rule. It is important for the BJP to retain Tripura, which it had won after ousting the Left Front, which had ruled this north-eastern state for a long period of time.