By Ujjwal Roy
Agartala (Tripura) [India], May 15 (ANI): After taking oath as the new Chief Minister of Tripura, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leader Manik Saha on Sunday said he is having very good chemistry with his predecessor Biplab Deb whom Saha replaced just a year ahead of the ensuing assembly polls in the state.
Speaking to ANI, Saha said, "We have already started to work for the 2023 Assembly elections. My chemistry with Biplab Deb ji is very good and it will always remain good. Earlier also we had very good coordination when he was the chief minister and I was the state party president."
Asked about why Deb was replaced, the newly appointed Chief Minister gave the example of Assam.
"See the example in Assam. Sarbananda Sonewal has been made the central minister, whereas Himanta Biswa Sarma has been made the Chief Minister. These things happen in BJP. He (Deb) will strengthen the organisation."
On the question of whether BJP finds Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress a challenge for the upcoming Assembly polls in Tripura, Saha said, "Not at all. What happened in local body elections? What happened to those 23 people of IPAC. We work for people, not for elections. They cannot think beyond elections. They only come when elections are there. In the recently held elections in five states, we have won in four states. Our graph is not coming down."
Chief Minister Saha further said that it is only the CPIM that the ruling BJP considers the Opposition force in Tripura.
"We have CPM as the Opposition party in the Assembly now. So we have the challenge only from CPIM," he said.
On the number of seats, BJP has set a target for the next Assembly polls, Saha said, "We aspire to get 60 seats. Earlier, we were in zero. The Bharatiya Janata Party never had a single seat in the assembly. When Biplab ji was the party president we brought 36 seats. Now we are working towards winning 60 seats."
Saha took oath as chief minister of the state on Sunday at Raj Bhawan in Agartala.
The BJP legislative party meeting on Saturday had elected Saha as the legislature party leader in the presence of the Central observers. The BJP decided for leadership change in the state a year ahead of the Assembly elections by replacing Biplab Kumar Deb with Saha as the Chief Minister.
After Manik Saha was sworn in as the new Chief Minister of Tripura, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has once again taken recourse to its old mantra to beat anti-incumbency by changing the face in a poll-bound state.
Before Tripura, the BJP had scripted change in leadership in Gujarat, Karnataka and Uttarakhand. While the change of the face in Uttarakhand was done ahead of the elections, Gujarat is heading for year-end polls. Tripura and Karnataka are heading for elections next year.
Tripura unit of the BJP leaders was surprised with the choice of Manik Saha as chief minister as he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the lone seat barely two months ago.
Saha is a Rajya Sabha MP and chief of the party in the state. The polls in the state are likely to be held in March next year.
Saha, a dental surgeon, is expected to steer the party in the Assembly polls amid a multi-cornered contest in the northeastern state where Trinamool Congress is also seeking to emerge as a key player.
The sudden political development came as a surprise to the people of the state.
Saha joined the BJP in 2016 after quitting Congress. He was made party chief in 2020 and elected to Rajya Sabha in March this year.
Meanwhile, Deb after submitting his resignation to State Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya said that he had wholeheartedly served the people of the Tripura.
Deb had taken oath as the first Chief Minister of Tripura in 2018, ending the 25-year-rule of the Communist Party of India in the state. (ANI)