Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb on Wednesday called off a public meeting in which he had sought the people’s mandate on whether he should continue to remain on the top post of the state, The Indian Express reported. The decision came after the Bharatiya Janata Party leadership stepped in to manage the crisis.
“There is no threat to his leadership in the state and he [Biplab Deb] will continue to serve the people of Tripura as chief minister,” BJP central observer Vinod Sonkar told the newspaper. “Let the organisation handle the issues in the party.”
Sonkar had spoken to party chief JP Nadda after Deb said he was ready to quit if people wanted the same, according to PTI. Nadda then told Deb not to carry on with the meeting.
Unidentified party members also told The Indian Express that the BJP leadership has asked the chief minister to focus on governance matters and that it will handle the internal crisis in the state unit of the party.
The party members told the newspaper that Deb was running the government without consulting other leaders. They, however, ruled out that any change in leadership in the state.
They said that the party leadership agreed with some matters raised by the MLAs against Deb but did not wish to change the leadership as discontent legislators in other states would demand the same. The BJP members said that the leadership was “annoyed” with Deb’s announcement seeking public mandate, adding that the move has affected the party structure in the state.
“Whether I go or continue is up to you... deliver your mandate,” Deb had said at a press conference in Agartala on Tuesday. “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’s announcement had come following sloganeering against him. Some party supporters had raised slogans of “Biplab hatao, BJP Bachao [Remove Biplab, save BJP]” during Sonkar’s visit on Sunday.
The slogans showed 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 had met Sonkar to apprise him about the political and organisational situation in the state. These MLAs had earlier also met 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.