Who is Manik Saha, the new Tripura CM?

The BJP has changed five chief ministers since 2019, including in Gujarat and Karnataka
Last Updated 15 May 2022, 09:44 IST

Months before Assembly elections in Tripura, BJP on Saturday replaced Biplab Kumar Deb with Rajya Sabha member and veteran leader, Manik Saha as the Chief Minister. Saha on Sunday took oath as the new chief minister.

The BJP has changed five chief ministers since 2019, including in Gujarat and Karnataka.

Deb, who was credited for leading BJP to wrest power from the left and form its first government in the state in 2018, resigned on Saturday afternoon. The resignation came a day after his meeting with central leaders in New Delhi in which he was reportedly conveyed the party's decision to replace him with a new face for the Assembly elections next year.

"I was a common worker of the party and will continue to be so," Saha told reporters after being named the next chief minister.

Saha was a member of the Congress till 2016, when he moved over to the BJP. He eventually became the president of the party's Tripura unit after Deb quit in 2020. was a member of the opposition Congress before he joined BJP.

A former badminton player of repute in the state, Saha is also the President of Tripura Cricket Association, and is a maxillofacial surgeon by profession, having graduated from King George Medical College of Lucknow.

However, his importance to BJP stems from his clean image and his track record which includes crafting BJP's victory in all thirteen civic bodies in the polls held in November 2021 in Tripura at a time when TMC was engaged in a turf war with the saffron party. He also won the single Rajya Sabha seat from the state earlier this year after defeating his rival and CPI(M) candidate Bhanulal Saha.

However, the move to bring in Manik Saha as chief minister is being seen by many in Tripura as a `brand renewal exercise’ in this strategic, gateway state in the Northeast.

(Published 15 May 2022, 06:42 IST)

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