(From left) Tripura Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Devvarma, Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb, Union minister Gajendra Singh Sekhawat, newly elected BJP state president Dr. Manik Saha and UP minister Mahendra Singh in Agartala on Wednesday. (Express photo: Debraj Deb)
Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb Wednesday stepped down as state BJP president, four years after he was appointed to the post, making way for Dr. Manik Saha.
Deb was named state president of BJP on January 6, 2016. His three-year tenure ran out one year ago in January 2019, but he was given an extension till August 31, or till the end of the Parliament election process.
However, the post couldn't be filled till organisational elections had been conducted at different levels, and finally, the new state president was declared on Wednesday.
Announcing the new chief, Union minister for Jal Shakti Gajendra Singh Shekhawat, who served as observer for BJP's organisational elections in Tripura, said the process of electing party leaders was conducted properly from the booth level.
"Organisational elections in Tripura were held properly in booth, mandal and district levels. The state-level party election concluded with the name of Dr Manik Saha," Singh told a press conference this afternoon.
Biplab Deb recounted his experience of holding the post.
"When I assumed this responsibility, I had a small team. I was mocked by many, who said we wouldn't make any difference. But we have proven that this small team could dislodge the Communist government that had ruled for 25 years," Deb said.
He urged Saha to start preparations for the 2023 state Assembly election and ensure the party's victory on 100 per cent of the seats.
In his debut speech as state president, Dr. Saha appealed to all party workers to unite in furthering the saffron party's activities.
Dr. Saha is a dentist by profession. He joined the BJP in 2016, and served as in-charge of Pristha Pramukhs (Panna Pramukhs) before the 2018 Assembly polls statewide membership drive, which ended with 7 lakh members in 2019.
Biplab Deb, who hails from Jamjuri village in Gomati district, 50 km from Agartala, comes from a family with a history of right-wing politics. His father Hirudhan Deb was a local leader of Jana Sangha. After graduating from a government degree college at Udaipur, Biplab moved to Delhi and was trained by RSS leaders like Krishna Gopal Sharma and Gobinda Acharya. He returned to Tripura in 2015 as convener of ‘Mahasampark Abhiyan’, a party organisational campaign.
The BJP, which had never won a berth in the state Assembly, stormed the legislature with 36 seats in March 2018 under his leadership, and formed a government in alliance with Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), which won eight seats.