New Delhi: The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Tuesday decided that its Tripura state president Biplab Kumar Deb will take oath as chief minister on Friday, but its alliance partner Indigenous People Front of Tripura (IPFT) is of the view that the job should go to a tribal leader.
In a bid to reach out to the indigenous population of the state, the leadership named Jishnu Debbarma, also of the BJP, as deputy chief minister. The decisions were taken at a legislative party meeting held in Agartala.
“Biplab Kumar Deb to be the chief ministerial candidate,” said Union minister Nitin Gadkari who was sent as observer to Tripura by BJP leadership for the legislative party meeting. Soon after the meeting, Deb said that the state unit had invited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and all chief ministers of BJP-ruled states for the swearing-in which is scheduled to take place on Friday.
The BJP’s victory in Tripura also resonated in the parliamentary party meeting in Delhi where Modi described it as the victory of ideology and said the party needs to work hard to maintain its winning electoral streak. “Tripura was considered a bastion of Marxism for the last 25 years. This is an ideological victory,” parliamentary affairs minister Ananth Kumar quoted Modi as saying. Meanwhile, Debbarma said education, rural development and welfare of tribals would be the focus of the new state government.
“Biplab Kumar Deb and I will work with all the members of the legislative assembly (MLAs) to take Tripura on the path of development and will make it the number one state. Education, health, rural development and tribal development are the biggest issues here which need emphasis,” said Debbarma.
In the recently concluded assembly polls in the state, the BJP-led National Democratic Alliance (NDA) won 43 out of the 60 seats in the assembly. While BJP won 35 seats, IPFT won eight. Elections were held for 59 seats.
Even before the formation of the NDA government in the state, IPFT had clearly stated that it would discuss the names of the BJP’s chief ministerial and deputy chief ministerial candidates with Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief of Northeast Democratic Alliance (NEDA). This meeting is expected to take place on Wednesday. Senior leaders of the IPFT are of the view that a tribal leader should become the chief minister of the state.
“The announcement of deputy chief minister after the legislative party meeting is BJP’s alone. We have discussed this with other senior leaders and will discuss it with Himanta Biswa Sarma and (BJP general secretary) Ram Madhav on Wednesday. There’s no question of us being pleased or displeased,” said N.C. Debbarma, IPFT president.