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Has BJP replaced incompetent Tripura CM eyeing on next Assembly?

Has BJP replaced incompetent Tripura CM eyeing on next Assembly?

The BJP does it again. Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb was replaced on Saturday.

State unit chief Dr Manik Saha will be the new Chief Minister and as the leader of the organization, he is expected to use the 'system' in the party's favour because of his connections and grip at the grassroots level.

There is nothing to gainsay that the saffron party knows the art of replacing Chief Ministers pretty well. They have done it in Gujarat; bringing in political greenhorn and first-time legislator Bhupendra Patel. It was billed as a classic and masterstroke.

In Uttarakhand, they replaced three Chief Ministers and ultimately had the last laugh too as Pushkar Singh Dhami could lead the party to victory in fiercely contested assembly polls earlier this year.

The opposition Left, Congress and lately Trinamool Congress have from time to time been critical of the performance of the former Chief Minister Deb, who is generally given out as a reluctant politician.

The BJP high command was reluctant to even last year to replace Biplab Deb in Tripura.

Two lotus party leaders from Tripura Sudip Roy Burman, a former Health Minister, and Ashish Saha angrily quit the party and joined the Congress earlier this year after the demand against Biplab Deb was not heeded.

The saffron party strategists including party chief J P Nadda and Home Minister Amit Shah were – however convinced ultimately that they will have no other option but to replace Deb.

Despite the bravado of a 'performing party', even BJP insiders and RSS key players knew that Biplab Deb had 'limitations' to function as the Chief Minister. Insiders say, "He not only lacks political acumen; he kept on making mistakes in terms of silly utterances at times at the press conferences".

Although political detractors including Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, which entered the state last year, now claim their stand vindicated following Deb's resignation; it is also true they realise the BJP has in the other states managed to beat 'anti incumbency' by replacing Chief Ministers.

Uttarakhand was a classic illustration.

"Goodbye, and good riddance to the CM (Deb) who failed thousands of people in Tripura," tweeted the All India Trinamool Congress Twitter handle.

"Enough damage is done," it wrote adding, "So much so that even the top bosses at

@BJP4India are fed up of his INCOMPETENCE".

The charge is not entirely without merit.

In retrospect, Biplab Deb had in his destiny the name, fame and glorious four and a half years in power.

He was actually picked by RSS pointman Sunil Deodhar in 2016-17 a few months before the 2018 battle royale.

Delhi media circles know Biplab Deb as a shy boy from the northeast, who actually was working for some time as an 'assistant' to a BJP MP from Madhya Pradesh.

In 2016, he was picked up by Deodhar as the BJP hardly had an organisational presence in the northeastern state - where Bengalis are in majority. The state, like West Bengal, had strong communist and Marxist leanings among the citizenry.

But after 25 years of power, the Marxists had developed their weakness and faultlines in politics and also in administration and hence the BJP - powered by its resources from Delhi and Sangh's meticulous man-management - could easily take the battle into the Leftists' camp and ultimately dethrone them.

One reason the BJP decided to pull up its socks in Tripura was the rise of a new party, TIPRA Motha.

TIPRA Motha, it is believed, has succeeded in swaying the sentiment of the indigenous renal people and in the next elections the party was going to be a determining factor.

The nervousness in the BJP camp is palpable as there are apprehensions that the TIPRA Motha could field many candidates in the general seats and would add to the pressure by managing both the tribal as well as non-tribal Bengali votes.

Notably, the CPI-M has already eroded its base in all tribal and non-tribal segments and two other

Parties, the Congress and the Trinamool Congress, also do not have much presence in the ST constituencies.

The Tipra Motha is led by Pradyot Bikram Manikya DebBarma, who has apparently emerged as the neo-challengerto the saffron party for the fast approaching 2023 polls.

Pradyot Manikya was an active Congress politician earlier his father Kirit Bikram Debbarma was a three-time MP and his mother Bibhu Kumari, was also a former Congress legislator.

Replacing Deb would give the BJP an opportunity to recast its strategies in more ways than one.

Congratulating Dr Saha on his election as new legislature party leader, Union Minister and BJP central observer Bhupender Yadav said under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Tripura will achieve new milestones in developments under Manik Saha.

(Nirendra Dev is a senior journalist and author of 'The Talking Guns: North East India' and 'Godhra - Journey of a Prime Minister')

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TAGS:Biplab DebBJPRSSDr Manik Saha
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