Tripura BJP President Manik Saha was sworn-in on Sunday as the 12th Chief Minister of the state just a day after Biplab Kumar Deb resigned from the top post.
The 69-year-old dental surgeon-turned-politician was administered the oath of office by Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya during a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan here.
No other MLAs from the BJP or its ally, the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), took oath on Sunday.
Main opposition CPI-M led Left Front, Congress and other political parties boycotted the swearing-in-ceremony alleging large scale political attacks. Officials of the Raj Bhavan said that nine MLAs of the BJP and two legislators of its ally IPFT would take the oath on Monday. The strength of the Tripura council of ministry is 12.
A former badminton player of repute, Saha, who was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the lone seat in Tripura on March 31, has to be elected to the state Assembly within the next six months.
Father of two daughters, Saha, who is also a professor at the Tripura Medical College and B.R. Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital in Agartala as well as the President of the Tripura Cricket Association, joined the BJP in 2015 and became the state party president in 2021.
The election to the 60-member Tripura Assembly is due in January-February 2023.
Since May 2019, Tripura had witnessed waves of revolt by dissident BJP MLAs and leaders against Deb, who also subsequently announced to obtain a public mandate by calling a public meeting. The move was later cancelled following the intervention of the central leaders.
Deb, 51, became the Chief Minister on March 9, 2018, after the BJP-IPFT alliance came to power by defeating the Left Front in the Assembly elections, ending the latter’s 25-year rule.
Amid open resentment by a section of the BJP MLAs and leaders, the cabinet expansion took place on August 31 last year, which saw the induction of three ministers. Three BJP MLAs, Sudip Roy Barman (also former minister), Ashis Kumar Saha, Ashis Das, quit the party following open differences with Deb.
Roy Barman and Saha joined the Congress in February this year while Das joined Trinamool Congress last year.