BJP leader Manik Saha takes oath as Tripura’s new chief minister on Sunday, a day after Biplab Deb stepped down from the post.

Manik Saha takes oath as new Tripura Chief Minister on Sunday, May 15, ahead of the state assembly election to be held early next year.

Saha was named as the CM after Biplab Kumar Deb called it quits on Saturday. 

Deb is now likely to take over as the BJP Tripura chief.

After he was declared as the CM, Manik Saha took to microblogging site Twitter to announce that he met the state governor with the letter of support from MLAs.

He wrote, “Being elected as [BJP’s] Legislative Party Leader, met the Hon’ble Governor at Raj Bhavan and submitted the claim to form the government with the letter of support from my party legislatures (sic).”

It is purported that Deb had proposed Manik Saha’s name as the next chief minister. 

Saha is not the first ‘Manik’ to be the chief minister of Tripura. Before him, CPI(M)’s Manik Sarkar served as the chief minister for 20 years till 2018.

Saha, is a maxillofacial surgeon from Lucknow’s King George Medical College. 

He was a member of the opposition Congress before he joined the BJP in 2016 and was named as the BJP’s Tripura unit chief in 2020 after Deb quit that post.

Saha, a former badminton player of repute, is also the President of Tripura Cricket Association.

There was high drama immediately thereafter when Fire and Cooperative Minister Ramprasad Paul, who had opposed Deb before he joined his cabinet last year, burst into tears. 

“I will die, I will not (have anything to) do (with) such a party,” he wailed. In February this year, Paul and 14 others had accused Saha, considered by many as close to Deb, of running the state unit to the ground.

Video clips that made the rounds later showed Paul lifting a chair to try and hurl it in the direction of one of the BJP leaders from Delhi who had come as observers  Union Minister Bhupender Yadav, party general secretary Vinod Tawde, secretary Vinod Kumar Sonkar  for the legislature party meeting.

After the meeting, another BJP MLA, Parimal Debbarma, too slammed the party leadership over its choice. 

“Why were MLAs called to the meeting? Saha was made a Rajya Sabha MP recently, we did not oppose that. But could they not have considered one of the MLAs in this case? 

You will see more MLAs speaking out in the coming days. This is not done,” Debbarma, who represents the Ambassa constituency, said.

Deb’s resignation came a day after he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in New Delhi. 

As per sources, the decision of his resignation came from the party’s top leadership.

Post his resignation, Deb said, “We need to keep the BJP in power for a long in Tripura,” 

Biplab Deb, the BJP’s first CM in Tripura, said on Saturday,” adding, “The party [BJP] is above all. I have worked for the party under the leadership and direction of PM Modi. I have tried to do justice to the people of Tripura as the head of the party’s state unit and as CM. I have tried to ensure peace, development and steer the state out of the Covid crisis.”

In October 2020, Barman, leading a group of MLAs, camped in Delhi to meet the BJP Central leadership and demand Deb’s removal as CM, saying he was “dictatorial, inexperienced and unpopular.”

But the BJP leadership stood by Deb, refusing to give in to the demand. 

Some of these MLAs ended up joining the Deb camp. Barman and Ashish Kumar Saha left the BJP earlier this year.

But the BJP brass was annoyed when Deb, at a public meeting, declared he would seek the people’s “mandate” on whether he should continue in office in the face of intense factionalism in the state unit.

BJP President Nadda spoke to the Chief Minister and directed him to drop the plan immediately following which Deb backed down.