Agartala: Seventy-year-old BJP leader Manik Saha took oath as chief minister of the sensitive border state of Tripura, on Wednesday. Eight more ministers, including Ratan Lal Nath, Pranajit Singha Roy, Santana Chakma, Bikash Debbarma and Sukla Charan Noatia, were also sworn in by Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Home Minister Amit Shah and BJP president JP Nadda as well as Manipur Chief Minister N Biren Singh were among the dignitaries present on the occasion. In all, eight ministers from the BJP and one from its ally IPFT were inducted into the cabinet. Noatia is from the Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura.
Of the nine members of the cabinet, four were new faces, while five ministers, who were in the earlier cabinet, found a place in the fresh line-up. Bhagaban Das, Manoj Kanti Deb, Ram Prasad Paul and Rampada Jamatia, who were in the previous cabinet, were dropped from the new council of ministers in the second BJP-IPFT government. Three tribal MLAs were given berths in the Manik Saha-led council of ministers. Union Minister Pratima Bhaumik, who won the election from Dhanpur Assembly constituency in Sepahijala district, did not take oath. However, three ministerial berths are still vacant.
The opposition Left and the Congress boycotted the swearing-in ceremony of the second BJP-led government, protesting against post-poll violence. Pradesh Congress president Birajit Sinha said the party will boycott the swearing-in ceremony of the Manik Saha government as a mark of protest against the post-poll violence. None of the 13 MLAs from Tipra Motha was seen at the oath-taking ceremony but party supremo Pradyot Kishore Manikya Debbarma wrote on social media that ‘Tipra has not compromised ! Wait and watch’.
Taking to Facebook, he said, ‘I am sure we will be asked to meet the Government of India for our constitutional solution. And we will only talk about the rights of 14 lakh Tiprasas and not the individual benefits of our leaders’. The BJP won 32 seats in the recent assembly elections in Tripura, while its ally IPFT managed to secure one seat. Manik Saha had been made chief minister earlier in 2022, replacing Biplab Kumar Deb, in a brand renewal exercise after it was found that his popularity rating was plummeting on account of the poor law and order situation in Tripura’s hinterland.
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