Manik Saha will continue as the Chief Minister of Tripura. His name was decided upon for the second term at a meeting of the newly-elected members of the ruling BJP in the state this evening. Mr Saha’s party BJP and its ally IPFT returned to power in Tripura winning 33 seats in the 60-member assembly.
The swearing-in-ceremony of the Chief Minister and the new council of ministers would be held on Wednesday. Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah, BJP President JP Nadda are expected to attend the event.
Earlier, sources indicated that even though Mr Saha is the front-runner, a section in the state party is rooting for Union Minister Pratima Bhowmik.
The 70-year-old, who was given the top job in the state last year in a brand renewal exercise replacing Biplab Kumar Deb, had earlier said the new Tripura government would work to make ‘Ek Tripura, Srestha Tripura’.
Even though the coalition of the BJP and the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) returned to power for a second time, it was well short of the “tsunami” predicted by Manik Saha. Both parties secured fewer seats when compared to their performance in 2018, when they scored 36 seats.
Manik Saha, who won the elections from Town Bardowali Assembly constituency, claimed the party’s performance in Tripura was on expected lines. “BJP’s victory was expected… We were eagerly waiting for it. Our responsibility has increased now. We will walk in the direction Prime Minister Narendra Modi shows us,” he said.
Assam Chief Minister and the BJP’s northeast strategist Himanta Biswa Darma had visited the state and held meetings with the Chief Minister and senior party colleagues on the formation of the next cabinet. The next day, he met Union Home Minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Sunday over the composition of the cabinet and its leader to ensure a smooth transition.
Manik Saha, a dental surgeon-turned-politician, graduated from the King George Medical College in Lucknow.
He was a member of the Congress before joining the BJP in 2016. Mr Saha was also the president of the state unit of the party from 2020 to 2022, when he was elected as MLA. He also had a short stint as a member of the Rajya Sabha from April 3 to July 4 last year.