Agartala: Two days after Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb’s declaration to take people’s verdict through a public meeting on Sunday about his continuance in the post of CM, the people’s gathering was cancelled on Thursday following advice from the central BJP and state leaders.
After Deb’s announcement to take people’s verdict through a public meeting in the Swami Vivekananda Maidan, a big stadium in the state capital, on Sunday, the ruling BJP’s junior ally, Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), the main opposition CPI-M and the Congress lambasted Deb for his move.
While the central leadership, including BJP President J.P. Nadda, advised Deb not to go ahead with the public gathering, the IPFT, CPI-M and Congress leadership said that in a parliamentary democratic system, there is no scope to take people’s mandate through an arranged public meeting.
After hectic meetings, senior BJP leader and Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma told the media on Thursday that they have apprised the Chief Minister that there is no necessity to hold the public gathering on Sunday to take people’s mandate as majority of the MLAs and leadership are with him.
“There is no dissidence in the BJP rank and file and among the MLAs. Nadda Ji and central observer Vinod Kumar Sonkar have already spoke to Deb. They also made it clear that if there is any issue, it would be resolved amicably,” Dev Varma said while coming out from the Chief Minister’s official residence here.
A large number of BJP ministers, MLAs and leaders, including the party’s state unit chief Manik Saha and Lok Sabha MP Pratima Bhowmik, met Deb in the past two days to reiterate their support for him.
Amid dissidence and discontent among a section of BJP leaders and legislators in Tripura, Deb on Tuesday night had announced to take the advice and guidance of the people at a public gathering here on December 13 about his continuation as the head of the BJP-IPFT alliance government in the state.
Addressing a hurriedly called press conference on Tuesday night, Deb said: “I was badly disheartened when some people on Sunday raised the slogan ‘Biplab Hatao, Tripura Bachao’ (remove Biplab Deb, save Tripura). I worked day and night as per the ‘Modi Mantra’ (Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s approach) for the all round development of Tripura.”
Thousands of BJP workers and local leaders assembled at the state guest house on Sunday and raised slogans against Deb’s leadership while the party’s central observer Vinod Kumar Sonkar was holding a series of meetings with ministers, MLAs and party functionaries.
Sonkar had told the media that there is no difference of opinion within the party and that he has discussed every matter with the ministers, MLAs and party functionaries.
Sonkar also told the media: “The CM should serve the people of Tripura. If there are any issues, the party will look into them.”
Senior BJP leader and party MLA Ratan Chakraborty told the media that majority of the 36 BJP MLAs met Deb and expressed their whole-hearted support to his leadership.
Education and Law Minister Ratan Lal Nath said that Deb is a very positive minded Chief Minister, unlike the previous nine other CMs, including CPI-M’s Manik Sarkar (1998-2018) and the first Chief Minister of the state, Sachindra Lal Singh (Congress, 1963-1971).
Besides BJP’s ally IPFT, the main opposition CPI-M and the Congress ridiculed Deb’s announcement to take people’s mandate through a public gathering.
IPFT President and Revenue Minister Narendra Chandra Debbarman said: “In the parliamentary democracy system, there is no provision to take people’s mandate through public rallies.”
CPI-M’s state secretary Gautam Das said: “The saffron party-led government in its 33 months of governance entirely failed to deliver the goods.”
Terming Deb’s declaration to take public mandate as “farce”, the CPI-M central committee member told the media that there is no scope to take public mandate through an arranged public meeting in a parliamentary democracy.
Terming Deb’s move as “drama”, Congress leader Tapas Dey said that if Deb is sincere to take public mandate, he should face the election conductd by the Election Commission.
Amid media speculation about dissidence in the BJP’s Tripura unit, party President J.P. Nadda and BJP’s national General Secretary Arun Singh had met several legislators and leaders from the state in New Delhi on October 13-14 and discussed various issues.
At Least 11 BJP legislators and some party leaders led by former Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman and the party’s former Vice President Ram Prasad Paul, both sitting MLAs, went to Delhi in October to discuss “party affairs in Tripura with the central leadership”.
The BJP, in alliance with the tribal based party IPFT, handed a humiliating defeat to the CPI-M led Left Front in the 2018 Assembly polls after 25 years.
In the 60-member Tripura Assembly, the BJP won 36 seats and the IPFT eight, while the CPI-M, the dominant party of the Left Front, secured 16 seats.