Tripura BJP divided over appointment of Manik Saha as CM; “Don’t MPs have a say?”

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The surprising change of guard in Tripura has left many BJP leaders unhappy, with some saying there was no consultation within the party before appointing Manik Saha as the new chief minister.

A year before assembly elections, the BJP on Saturday forced Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb to resign and hours later elected state party chairman Manik Saha as the new Head of the House.

Saha, who is also a member of Rajya Sabha, was elected as the new CM in a high-level meeting held at the chief minister’s official residence.

After the meeting, BJP MP Parimal Debbarma criticized the party leadership for their choice and asked why there was no prior consultation.

“Why were the deputies called to the meeting? Saha was appointed MP Rajya Sabha recently, we did not object. But despite the number of deputies, one deputy was appointed CM. As MPs, don’t we have a say? You will see more leaders speaking out in the coming days. It’s not done,” said Debbarma, who represents Ambassa constituency.

Shortly after the announcement, a commotion unfolded at the BJP Legislative Party meeting in Agartala, where State Minister Ramprasad Paul burst into tears. “I will die, I will not work for such a party,” he moaned. Alongside the minister, Debbarma said he shared Paul’s view.

BJP MP’s dramatic outburst over Manik Saha’s nomination

Soon video clips started circulating showing Paul lifting a chair to try and throw it in the direction of one of the Delhi BJP leaders who had come as an observer. Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik, Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma, Cabinet Minister Sushanta Chowdhury and Deb’s OSD Sanjay Mishra tried to calm Paul down.

Speaking to reporters after being elected CM, Saha said he would continue to be a party karyakarta. “I was given the responsibility of the president of the state (of the party). I worked…. now I have been appointed party leader of the legislature. The CM proposed my name, and everyone supported it.

A leading dental surgeon by profession, Manik Saha, 69, was named the BJP’s state chairman in 2020. He had joined the BJP in 2016, two years before the party came to power in the state . His name was reportedly proposed by outgoing CM Biplab Kumar Deb. Saha is expected to be sworn in at 10 a.m. today.

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