BJP's Tripura troubles: Biplab Kumar Deb's 'bad governance, dictatorial style' spark internal dissent
A team of 12 dissident Tripura MLAs is camping in New Delhi to meet the BJP's national president JP Nadda
When Biplab Kumar Deb took oath as the Tripura chief minister in March 2018, the development had marked a tectonic shift in the state's politics, as it ended 25 years of Communist rule in the state. However, Deb now faces a major internal crisis barely into his third year in office.
A team of 12 dissident MLAs is camping in New Delhi to meet the BJP's national president JP Nadda and speak to him about "bad governance" in the state, which, they said, could lead to its downfall in the 2023 Assembly elections. They have also complained about Deb's 'dictatorial' working style.
The rebellion threatens to undo the massive gains made by the BJP in the northeastern state, where it gained power after a long history of violent confrontations with the CPM.
Reasons for internal dissent
The team of legislators who have raised the banner of revolt include former state health minister Sudip Roy Barman, Asish Saha, Sushanta Choudhury, Ramprasad Pal and Diba Chandra Hrankhawl.
"Twenty-five of the 36 BJP MLAs now want a change, and a proper reshuffling in the council of ministers headed by Biplab Kumar Deb so that good governance could be delivered to people," a member of the team told PTI on condition of anonymity.
He also alleged that "poor leadership and misrule" by Deb have ruined the party in the state, which is now "alienated from people, but lost ground could be restored with the delivery of good governance".
Sushanta Choudhury, former youth Congress president, who had joined the BJP before the last Assembly elections held in February 2018, told reporters over the phone that they are hopeful to meet Nadda and other organisational leaders to discuss on the current situation.
He also said they have a plan to seek appointments with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah.
"Neither the government nor the party is moving in the right direction. All the pre-poll promises, mentioned in the party's Vision Document, were made to be fulfilled. These should be reflected in action, but we are far away from reality. We want to highlight what is happening in the state," Choudhury said.
However, an article in The Print quoted Tripura BJP president Manik Saha as saying, "There is no crisis, no threat to the government. Everything is fine. There is some resentment among a few leaders, but they have not come to me with their grievances. I have come to know only through media reports.”
The report quoted the chief minister's office as saying that there is no political crisis.
Further, vacancies in two key positions — those of a party general secretary in-charge of Tripura and a dedicated health minister in the state government — are also among the reasons for the dissatisfaction in the party's state unit, according to India Today.
The rebellion has come at a bad time for the BJP — since polls to the Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council are expected to be held next month.
With the BJP's ally Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura expected to forge an alliance with a new socio-political platform floated by royal scion Pradyot Kishore Debbarman, the BJP may have to fight the polls alone, according to a report in The Hindu. In the past, the INPT has also made its disagreement to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act clear, and has even held protests on the issue.
As far as the BJP's position in the Tripura Assembly is concerned, if the claim about 25 BJP MLAs 'wanting a change' is true, then it could mean trouble for Deb.
In the 60-seated Tripura Assembly, BJP has 36 legislators along with eight MLAs from its partner the Indigenous People''s Front of Tripura (IPFT). The CPIM has 16.
With inputs from PTI
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