Two days after “Biplab Hatao, BJP Bachao (Remove Biplab Deb, save BJP)” slogans were raised against Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb by supporters of the ruling party, Mr Deb said he had been left “saddened” by the shouts and would seek the people’s “mandate” on continuing in his post.
Mr Deb said that he would meet the people of the state (and his critics) at an open-to-the-public event on Sunday, where he would ask them if they wanted him to continue.
“Whether I go or continue is up to you… deliver your mandate. I will be at Stable Ground (Vivekananda maidan) on Sunday at 2 PM and your word will be communicated to the high command,” Mr Deb said at a hurriedly called press conference in Agartala Tuesday.
“I am saddened by the slogan. My only fault… maybe I am committed for development of the state. My time is capped at five years… as (head of) an elected government for five years. I am no government officer serving for thirty years,” the Chief Minister added.
On Sunday around a hundred people gathered around the Tripura Guest House where Vinod Sonkar – the newly-appointed BJP observer – was interacting with state leaders. The crowd began chanting “Biplab Hatao, BJP Bachao(Remove Biplab Deb, save BJP)”.
The demonstrations were seen as a sign of discontent that had been brewing over Mr Deb’s alleged mismanagement of BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) alliance.
Although police had to step in to ensure Mr Sonkar’s safety, the two-time Lok Sabha MP from UP’s Kaushambi later said there are “no differences” within the party.
There has been, however, a divide between the incumbent administration and MLA Sudip Dev Barman, a BJP heavyweight who was stripped of the health portfolio in June last year.
Mr Barman, 54, the son of former Chief Minister and Congress leader Samir Ranjan Barman, delivered seven ex-Trinamool MLAs to the BJP in June 2017 and was also considered instrumental in inking the alliance with IPFT.
BJP sources have said Mr Burman and a few MLAs flew to Guwahati in Assam last week to meet the party’s go-to man in the northeast, minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Local media reports said also that Mr Barman (and a group of around 10 MLAs) met central BJP leadership figures in Delhi in October to discuss issues and air their grievances.