Tripura Chief Minister Manik Sarkar submitted his resignation to Governor Tathagata Roy on Sunday. Sarkar has been in office for 20 years. Roy accepted Sarkar’s resignation but asked him to officiate as chief minister until the new government is sworn in.

The Election Commission had declared the Bharatiya Janata Party victorious in 35 of 59 seats on Saturday after counting the votes from the Assembly elections. Sarkar retained his Dhanpur constituency.

“The cooperation from the people and administration helped us run the government for 20 years,” The Hindu quoted Sarkar as saying on Sunday. “The people were with us, and we were with the people. Without their cooperation, it would have been impossible to implement government policies. I cannot thank them enough.”

Sarkar visited the state’s Communist Party of India (Marxist) headquarters to pay homage to Fisheries Minister and six-time MLA Khangendra Jamatia who died of cancer on March 2, The Hindu reported. Sarkar met Bharatiya Janata Party state president Biplab Kumar Deb who was also there to pay his respect.

Deb advised his party workers to exercise restraint while celebrating its “historic” victory. “Being in power will be a challenge, but then life without challenge is no life at all,” Deb told reporters while refusing to answer queries about him being the party’s choice for chief minister. “This is for the leadership to decide. The party made me State president, and my job is to ensure we honour the people’s mandate to the best of our capability.”