Two more rebel Tripura BJP MLAs quit party, likely to join Congress
Agartala: In a major political jolt, two more dissident MLAs of the ruling BJP — Sudip Roy Barman and Ashis Kumar Saha who are strong critics of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb for the past more than two years — on Monday resigned from the Assembly and the party before leaving for Delhi to decide their next course of action.
After submitting their resignation letters to Tripura Assembly Speaker, both Roy Barman, a former Minister, and Saha told the media that they have also sent their resignation letters to the BJP’s state President Manik Saha.
“We are going to Delhi today (Monday) and will come back here on Saturday, then we will tell you everything in detail about our future political course,” Roy Barman told the media just after submitting resignation letters to Chakraborty and before leaving for the national capital.
He said: “The BJP government led by Deb utterly failed to deliver the goods. An autocratic rule has been prevailing in the state. A reign of terror has been going on in the state. People are in serious distress. We want to work for the people as we are unable to do this while remaining in the BJP.”
Sources close to Roy Barman and Saha said that they might meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi and other leaders in Delhi and may join the party. Roy Barman and Saha, strong critics of Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and other BJP leaders, were earlier in Congress before joining TMC in 2016 and then to BJP next year (2017).
Earlier, BJP MLA Ashish Das after strongly criticising the saffron party and its leadership including Chief Minister, joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) on October 31, 2021 following which he was disqualified from Tripura Assembly by Speaker Ratan Chakraborty on January 5 (this year).
BJP, on the other hand, downplayed the resignations of Roy Barman and Saha and said that the duo’s quit from the Assembly membership would not be any constitutional crisis in the state. “It was in the expected line that Roy Barman and Saha left from the Assembly membership and the party. They have been openly criticising the chief minister and other party leaders. Their resignation from the Assembly and the party has no importance to BJP,” state BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee told the media.
Roy Barman and Saha and three other BJP MLAs — Ashish Das, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl and Burba Mohan Tripura — in August last year held a big gathering in Agartala which was attended by many local BJP leaders and workers.
Roy Barman, Saha and few other BJP MLAs and leaders for the past more than two years met BJP’s National President J.P. Nadda and other central leaders and Ministers and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and apprised them about the “misgovernance in Tripura and Chief Minister’s authoritarian style of work”.
To curb the rebellion in the party organisation and to set the governance right, several central party leaders led by BJP’s North East Zonal Secretary (Organisation), Ajay Jamwal, had visited the state several times.
In the presence of the central party leaders, three BJP MLAs — Ram Prasad Paul, Sushanta Chowdhury, Bhagaban Chandra Das — were on August 31 last year inducted into the Tripura cabinet in its first cabinet expansion after the BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) alliance assumed charge in March 2018.
The open dissent and internal dispute in the ruling BJP began after Roy Barman, who was holding the Health and Information Technology departments, was sacked in May 2019 following differences with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
The BJP came to power in Tripura on March 9, 2018, after defeating the CPI (M)-led Left Front for the first time in 25 years after the latter first came to power in the northeastern state in 1978 along with West Bengal and again in 1993 (after a gap of five years – 1988-1993, when Congress-led coalition government governed the state).
Meanwhile, IPFT MLA Brishaketu Debbarma resigned from the Assembly in June 2021 and joined the TIPRA (Tipraha Indigenous Progressive Regional Alliance) headed by Tripura’s royal scion, Pradyot Bikram Manikya Deb Barman. Debbarma’s resignation was, however, not yet accepted by the Assembly speaker.
The IPFT with eight MLAS is an ally of the ruling BJP, who secured 36 seats in the 60-member Assembly in the 2018 elections while remaining 16 seats bagged by the CPI-M.