Agartala: Tripura Pradesh Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) President Biplab Kumar Deb, who is likely to be the party’s Chief Ministerial candidate in the northeastern state, on Sunday met outgoing Chief Minister Manik Sarkar and took his blessings.
Deb, 48, met the 69-year-old Left leader at the Communist Party of India-Marxist Tripura state headquarters, where the BJP leader went to pay his last respects to Fisheries and Cooperative Department Minister Khagendra Jamatia, who died at the AIIMS in New Delhi on Friday after suffering from blood cancer.
“I have not been selected as Chief Ministerial candidate of BJP yet. I met Manik Da and sought his blessings. He is much senior to me and an experienced man,” Deb told reporters.
Deb, who defeated CPM nominee and the party’s youth leader Amal Chakraborty in the Banamalipur constituency by a margin of 9,549 votes, won the electoral battle in his maiden attempt.
Congress party leader Gopal Roy contested unsuccessfully from the Banamalipur seat by securing only 832 votes. Roy, who was elected to the state assembly five times, had won the Banamalipur seat three times in a row.
I have not been selected as chief ministerial candidate of BJP yet. I met Manik Da and sought his blessings. He is much senior to me and an experienced man.”
- Biplab Kumar Deb | Tripura state BJP president
The BJP Tripura Pradesh Chief appealed to the party cadres to maintain peace in the state and not to indulge in any post-poll violence.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Manik Sarkar on Sunday tendered his resignation to Governor Tathagata Roy, who asked him to continue in office till the next Chief Minister takes over, officials said.
“I have submitted my resignation to governor and he asked me to continue in office until the new Chief Minister took charge.
“I thank all the officials and security personnel who helped to conduct the elections peacefully,” Sarkar told the media at the Raj Bhavan after submitting his formal resignation letter.
Sarkar, 69, put in his papers a day after the ruling Left Front dominated by his Communist Party of India-Marxist (CPM) suffered a humiliating defeat in the February 18 assembly elections by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) alliance.
The BJP-IPFT coalition has swept the polls, the results of which were declared on Saturday, winning 43 of the 59 seats to which elections were held. The BJP secured 35 seats in the 60-member assembly while its ally IPFT, a tribal based party, has won eight seats.
Elections were held for 59 seats and countermanded in one (tribal reserve Charilam seat) following the death of a CPM candidate a week before the February 18 polls.
Chief Minister of Tripura for the past 20 years, Sarkar, who has been in the election fray for the past 37 years (since 1981), has been elected to the state assembly seven times — in 1981 (bypolls), 1983, 1998, 2003, 2008, 2013 and 2018.
In the February 18 polls, the CPM politburo member retained his Dhanpur (in western Tripura under Sepahijala district) assembly constituency for the fifth consecutive time.
The Left leader won the Dhanpur seat by a margin of 5,441 votes defeating BJP general secretary and woman leader Pratima Bhowmik in a multi-cornered contest.