Rift widens in BJP as party veteran Jishnu Dev Varma goes incommunicado
Agartala/UNI: The surprising change of Chief Minister in Tripura has left a sizable number of Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) leaders and legislators disgruntled with some claiming that there was no consultation within the party before naming Manik Saha as Biplab Deb’s successor.
The Raj Bhawan sources said BJP has not yet submitted the list of ministers who would take the oath with Saha on Sunday.
The Deputy Chief Minister in Deb’s cabinet and veteran BJP man Jishnu Dev Varma has been incommunicado since Saha became the leader of the legislature party.
Despite several attempts by party leaders as well as the security personnel, Dev Varma has remained unreachable.
A group of leaders led by party state in-charge Vinod Sonkar had reportedly rushed to Dev Varma’s house around Saturday-Sunday midnight but they were not allowed to enter.
Later, police were mobilised to get his contacts but failed.
On Sunday, BJP leaders including Sonkar and CM designate Saha made three attempts to meet Dev Varma, but without success.
Another group of MLAs, who have turned hostile after Saha’s elevation, met at midnight to discuss their next course of action. The MLAs were seen assembled in the house of former minister Ram Prasad Paul, but none spoke to the media.
Ten months ahead of the assembly elections, the BJP got Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb to resign from the post on Saturday and hours later, elected state party president Manik Saha, as the new leader of the legislature party which created serious resentment among the party rank and file.
BJP MLA Parimal Debbarma slammed the party leadership over its choice and questioned why there was no prior consultation.
"Why were MLAs called to the meeting? Saha was made Rajya Sabha MP recently, we did not oppose that. But despite having so many MLAs, an MP has been made CM. Don't we as MLAs have any say? You will see more leaders speak out in the coming days. This is not done," he fumed.
Shortly after the announcement, a commotion unfolded at the BJP legislative party meeting in Agartala, where Minister Ram Prasad Paul - one of the oldest BJP men in Tripura - burst into tears.
“I will die, I will not work for such a party,” he shouted.
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