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How Biplab Deb Tripped Up as Tripura CM And Why He Had to Eventually Go

Biplab Deb also purportedly failed to manage the Covid situation in Tripura efficiently. (File pic: Twitter/ANI)

Biplab Deb also purportedly failed to manage the Covid situation in Tripura efficiently. (File pic: Twitter/ANI)

BJP sources say that by the middle of April, the central leadership had decided that Biplab Deb would have to be replaced

Another BJP-ruled state, another chief minister replaced on the verge of elections. This time the state was Tripura, and the chief minister who had to step down was Biplab Kumar Deb. But why?

Locals say people were unhappy with Biplab but not with the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. These murmurs eventually reached the ears of the BJP top brass in Delhi, prompting the change.

Biplab Deb became the Tripura chief minister in 2018 after ending the Left’s 25-year-long rule. The BJP began its stint at the helm on an upbeat note.

Sudip Roy Barman who had joined the party from the Trinamool Congress in 2017 found a place in Deb’s ministry. But a short while later, problems surfaced. Ironically, Biplab, meaning ‘uprising’, was facing just that.

Barman and five ministers initially protested within the party. Deb attempted to crush the rebellion but was unsuccessful. The tensions continued.

In 2020, half a dozen MLAs led by Sudip Roy Barman went to Delhi and met BJP chief JP Nadda. This was the first time when a disgruntled state unit leader briefed the Delhi bosses that if Biplab Deb remained chief minister, the party would lose the 2023 assembly elections.

In 2021, after the defeat in the West Bengal polls, the BJP central leadership trained its gaze on Tripura.

Party national general secretary Dilip Saikia, Northeast zonal secretary Ajay Jamwal, and Tripura incharge Vinod Sarkar all came down to the state in August 2021. They spoke to party workers and leaders at all levels in the state.

BJP sources said that they submitted their first report to the central leaders, which had several negative remarks about Biplab Deb.

Sudip Roy Barman eventually left the BJP and joined the Congress in February 2022. The saffron party also took note of that.

Following this, more central observers were sent to Tripura and they travelled to each district and spoke to leaders on the ground.

Several workers raised various points against Biplab Deb, say sources.

It was stated that he would take every decision by himself, without listening to his ministers and taking others into confidence.

His image amongst the public was also not good and he was not capable of handling crisis situations, said the sources. His conduct with party colleagues and the public at large was also not satisfactory, they added.

He also purportedly failed to manage the Covid situation efficiently.

Party seniors met the core committee members including CM Deb, his deputy Jishnu Debbarma, state BJP president Manik Saha, and union minister Pratima Bhoumik.

Sources in the party say that by the middle of April, the central leadership had decided that Biplab Deb would have to go.

The strategy of changing the CM in the run-up to polls had helped the BJP in Karnataka and Uttarakhand. The Tripura chief minister was called to Delhi and the message was delivered.

On May 14, a year ahead of elections, Biplab Deb resigned.

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first published:May 17, 2022, 07:30 IST