Should I go or stay? Tripura CM asks people if he should stay in power
In a rather dramatic move, Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Deb said Tuesday that he would step down from the CM chair if the people wished. His comments came two days after a group of supporters of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) raised slogans against him and chanted ‘Biplab Hatao, BJP Bachao’ (remove Biplab, save BJP) during a state visit to the Central Observer of the Vinod Sonkar party.
Biplab, who was considered a rookie in state politics upon his return to Tripura in 2015 as the leader of Mahasampark Abhiyan, a political campaign to connect with people in the era of the former Left Front, tied to the Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT), a tribal political party and jointly decimated the 25-year-old government of the Left Front led by the CPI (M), winning 44 of 60 seats in the assembly.
However, a year after the formation of his government, his Health Minister Sudip Roy Barman, who had joined from Congress, was removed from the state cabinet, allegedly due to some kind of confrontation between the two leaders. In November, a group of dissident BJP lawmakers, led by Roy Barman, approached BJP President JP Nadda in New Delhi. While the visit was touted as an effort to remove Biplab from office, visiting leaders later clarified that they were going to discuss “organizational issues.”
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Two days ago, when BJP observer Vinod Sonkar was in Tripura for his first visit as head of state, a group of BJP supporters raised slogans ‘Biplab Hatao, BJP Bachao’ at the State Guest House, where he was staying. The controversy was soon put down by Sonkar, who claimed that people came to speak their minds as a BJP observer was appointed to Tripura after a long time.
On Friday, CM Biplab Deb held a press conference at the secretary of state and said that she would gladly step down from CM if the people of Tripura so desired.
“I want the people of Tripura to tell me if they want me to retire. I will go to Astabal Maidan on December 13 at 2pm. I invite you all to join me and tell me if I should go or stay. If you want me to go, I will fulfill your wish and tell my party high command that the people of Tripura wanted this, ”said Deb.
He also said, on a rather emotional note, that he always worked for Tripura with what he calls ‘Modi Mantra’. However, he said it pained him to hear people raise slogans to remove him.
“I want to work for everyone, through religions, castes, colors or other identities. This state gave me everything, even those beyond my dreams. In the first place, I never dreamed of becoming the prime minister. But, some people raised slogans of ‘Biplab Hatao, Tripura Bachao’ the other day. It hurt me a lot. So I want to know if everyone feels the same. If so, I will go, ”he said, launching an open challenge to his opponents within the match.
He also stated that his government has achieved considerable development in the past three years, including HIRA, HIRA Plus, educational development, infrastructure development, Special Economic Zone (SEZ) Integrated Checkpoint (ICP) with Bangladesh, Logistics Center, buildings of high altitude, smart city, new airport, agricultural growth, among others.
HIRA is an acronym that Prime Minister Narendra Modi coined during his tour of Tripura before the 2018 state assembly elections. It stands for Highways, I-way, Roadways and Airways, something PM Modi promised for Tripura if BJP won power .
Stating that her only passion is transforming Tripura into the best state in the country, Biplab Deb said that her government is focusing on growing job creators, developing entrepreneurship and creating government jobs.
However, he warned that if he stayed in power, he would not tolerate any illegal activity and would follow a zero tolerance policy for crime.
“If someone wants to get involved in mafiagiri, vandalism, illegal land brokerage businesses, I will never compromise. I hereby reiterate that I will not participate in any illegal activity, nor will I allow anyone to do so, such as phensidyle, yaba or similar drug trafficking, ”he said.
Deb also asked the people to decide for him what could be done about the people who raised slogans against him.