“Whether I go or continue is up to you... deliver your mandate,” Deb said at a press conference in Agartala. “I will be at Stable Ground [Vivekananda maidan] on Sunday at 2 pm and your word will be communicated to the high command.”
The chief minister said that he was hurt by the slogans of “Biplab Hatao, BJP bachao” (Remove Biplab, save BJP). “My only fault... maybe I am committed for development of the state,” he said. “My time is capped at five years... as [the head of] an elected government for five years. I am no government officer serving for thirty years.”
Deb claimed that his government has worked for the development of the state in the last three years, including educational development, infrastructure development, building Special Economic Zones, airports, smart cities and agricultural growth, the Hindustan Times reported.
He also warned that he would not tolerate illegal activities and pursue a zero corrpution policy if he stays in charge. “If someone wishes to engage in mafiagiri, hooliganism, illegal land brokerage business, I shall never compromise,” Deb said. “I hereby iterate that I shall not engage in any illegal activities, nor shall I allow anyone to do so, like drug trade of phensidyle, yaba or such.”
The chief minister also urged the people to decide what should be done with the people who raised the slogans against him. On Sunday, the BJP’s observer Vinod Sonkar had denied that there was any differences in the party following the sloganeering.
However, the slogans hint at a growing dissidence against the chief minister among a large group of party workers in the state. Discontent has been brewing in the party after senior party leader Sudip Roy Barman was removed as the minister of health in June 2019.
Rebel MLAs, including Barman and party leaders Ashish Kumar Saha, Ram Prasad Paul and Sushanta Chowdhury, had met Sonkar to apprise him about the political and organisational situation in the state.
These MLAs had earlier also met party’s National President Jagat Prakash Nadda in New Delhi and later Himanta Biswa Sharma, the convenor of North-East Democratic Alliance, to reprise the demand to change the leadership in the state.