Notwithstanding LS poll triumph, BJP’s Biplab Deb keen to be Tripura CM again

Agartala, Jun 6 (PTI) Despite his thumping victory in the Lok Sabha election, BJP leader Biplab Kumar Deb on Thursday expressed his strong desire to return as the chief minister of Tripura.

However, everything depends on the party, said Deb, who guided the BJP to capture power in Tripura ending a 25-year-long Communist rule in 2018 and became the chief minister before being abruptly removed four years later.

Tripura BJP president Manik Saha then took charge and after the 2023 assembly elections, he continues to be at the helm of the BJP-led government in the state.

Currently a Rajya Sabha MP, Deb defeated his rival Asish Kumar Saha of the Congress by over six lakh votes from the West Tripura Lok Sabha constituency. Saha was also the joint candidate of the INDIA bloc.

“A chief minister is the head of a state while a union minister works under the prime minister. I prefer to return to state politics. And, it will not be less than the post of the chief minister. I had worked in the state as head of the government, not a minister,” he told PTI.

“But the party is the ultimate authority,” he said.

During his tenure as Tripura CM, Deb had made headlines often because of his controversial statements – from hinting at the existence of the Internet during the Mahabharata era to questioning whether Diana Hayden deserved to win the Miss World title and whether she or Aishwarya Rai symbolised true ‘Indian beauty’.

The newly elected Lok Sabha MP detailed how he was chosen as a candidate of one of the two seats in Tripura.

“Currently, I am in national politics being a Rajya Sabha MP and election prabhari (in-charge) of Haryana. Normally, election prabharis are not given tickets to contest elections. It was initially confirmed that incumbent MPs Pratima Bhoumik and Rebati Tripura will contest from their respective Lok Sabha constituencies,” he said.

Deb said he was nowhere in the picture.

“Suddenly I got a call from Union Home Minister Amit Shah. He told me I had to contest from the West Tripura Lok Sabha seat. Being a party leader, I could not turn down the party’s decision… I won the election massively the way I expected,” Deb said.

On his huge winning margin of over 6 lakh votes, the former chief minister said the Congress has disappeared from the state while the CPI(M) still has supporters at the grassroot level.

The Congress and the Left party fought the Lok Sabha elections together in the state.

“The CPI(M) has failed to transfer its committed vote bank to Congress as it did in last year’s Assembly elections. Besides, Tipra Motha’s joining the BJP-led coalition government is also a major reason behind the huge winning margin,” he said.

Asserting that he will have to concentrate on the state after being elected as an MP of Lok Sabha, Deb said he will soon hold a meeting with Chief Minister Manik Saha and will work on the development of the state.

“The state has no industry and it needs jobs for the youth. The tourism, including medical and spiritual tourism, could generate employment for the young generation very fast. During my tenure as the chief minister, there was a plan to lease out the newly built IGM building to Apollo Hospitals but it did not materialize due to Covid pandemic,” he said.

Deb said he will take steps to complete the facelift of Tripureswari temple, one of the 51 Shakti Peethas, in Gumati district to promote spiritual tourism.

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