The Tripura BJP on Saturday picked state unit president Dr Manik Saha as the next Chief Minister of the north-eastern state, hours after Biplab Deb tendered his resignation to Governor SN Arya.
Biplab Deb was the BJP’s first Chief Minister in Tripura and the task of carrying the party through to the next elections in 2023 has now fallen on Saha, who is currently a Rajya Sabha MP and has six months to get elected to the Tripura Assembly via a bypoll. He will take the Chief Minister’s oath on Sunday morning.
Saha, 69, had quit the Congress and joined the BJP in 2016. He was made the party’s state president in 2020, replacing Biplab Kumar Deb who was made CM following the saffron party’s phenomenal victory in the 2018 Assembly elections that ended a 25-year Communist rule.
A dental surgeon by profession, Saha enjoys a clean image among the public. He also enjoys wide acceptance in the party ranks despite having jumped ship from the Congress and is known for his booth management skills.
Saha has also been the Professor and Head of the Department of the Tripura Medical College and BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital in Agartala, and is currently serving as president of the Tripura Cricket Association.
Taking to Twitter, Deb congratulated Saha on being picked as the new Tripura Chief Minister.
“Congratulations and best wishes to @DrManikSaha2 ji on being elected as the legislature party leader. I believe under PM Shri @narendramodi Ji’s vision and leadership Tripura will prosper,” he said.
In his first statement as the new CM-elect, Saha said he will abide by “whatever responsibility has been given by the party”. A big chunk of that responsibility would be to keep the flock together till Assembly elections next year.
A major reason for the BJP to have replaced yet another Chief Minister in a state heading to polls was said to be the infighting among the ranks that Deb was not able to bring under control.
Saha got a taste of how challenging that task would be when minister Ram Prasad Pal openly protested against his selection as CM, leading to a scuffle breaking out inside the party office.