Dental Surgeon-Turned-Politician: Who Is Tripura's New CM, Manik Saha?
In 2016, Saha quit the Congress to join the BJP.
On Sunday, 15 May, Tripura BJP president and Rajya Sabha member Manik Saha took oath as the state's 11th chief minister, a day after Biplab Kumar Deb resigned from the post.
The 69-year-old politician, who is also a qualified dental surgeon, was administered the oath of office by Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya during a ceremony at the Raj Bhavan in Agartala. He has to be elected to the state Assembly within the next six months to retain his post.
Saha's appointment was protested by Deputy Chief Minister Jishnu Dev Varma and minister Ram Prasad Paul, who broke chairs during the BJP's legislative party meeting on Saturday, PTI reported.
"Congratulations and best wishes to Dr Manik Saha ji on being elected as the legislature party leader. I believe under PM Shri Narendra Modi Ji's vision and leadership Tripura will prosper," wrote the outgoing CM Biplab Kumar Deb on Twitter.
Who is Manik Saha?
Saha, a father of two, is a professor at the Tripura Medical College and BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital in Agartala. He is also the president of the Tripura Cricket Association.
He did his graduation in dental surgery from Patna's Government Dental College and his post graduation from King Georges' Medical College in Lucknow.
In 2016, Saha quit the Congress to join the BJP and is said to have become a close associate of the departing chief minister. He was appointed state BJP president in 2020.
In April this year, he was elected to the Rajya Sabha from the lone seat in Tripura, after receiving unanimous support from the BJP and Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) MLAs.
In 2018, the BJP had won 36 seats in the 60-member Tripura Assembly, ending the two-decade-long rule of Left Front government under Manik Sarkar. Saha now faces the challenging task of leading the party into the 2023 Assembly poll.
Biplab Deb, who had taken oath as CM in 2018, had been facing increasing resistance since mid-2019 from dissident MLAs and leaders, according to IANS.
The party's central leadership intervened and Deb met met with Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi earlier this week. Two days after that, he submitted his resignation to the governor.
Deb said that the party wanted him to work on the grassroots level "to strengthen the organisation".
"I should work as a common karyakarta (party worker) rather than being at the position of the CM to help form the BJP government in the state again in the upcoming Assembly elections."Biplab Deb to ANI
"I thank the central leadership and people of Tripura for giving me the responsibility to serve Tripura as a Chief Minister. I have wholeheartedly served my State and will always work for the betterment of my State. Tripura shall definitely march ahead in the path of development," he later said on Twitter.
(With inputs from ANI and PTI)
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