A wind of political change officially swept through Tripura on Friday when 48-year-old Biplab Kumar Deb took oath as the state’s 10th Chief Minister. It was a sight not even octogenarians in the party had seen before. Little wonder then that BJP veterans Murali Manohar Joshi and LK Advani joined Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the swearing-in ceremony in Agartala.
The rise of Biplab has been nothing short of remarkable and the ascent of his party has been nothing short of historic. The BJP had demolished the communist citadel of Tripura, winning a two-thirds majority with ally IPFT and ending 25 years of uninterrupted rule of the CPI(M)-led Left Front. The saffron party had secured less than two percent votes in the 2013 polls.
Taking the party to the far-flung tribal regions in the state has been widely regarded as the key reason for the success and it was spearheaded by a former RSS worker called Biplab Deb. The former gym trainer galvanised BJP forces in the state and was rewarded for his perseverance.
Little wonder then that the BJP, which had no MLAs in the outgoing Assembly and polled just 1.5 percent votes in the 2013 elections, losing deposits in 49 of the 50 constituencies it contested, secured over 42 percent of votes in the February 18, 2018, Tripura elections. “Don’t think of me as your CM, take me as your son, your brother, your friend. I will strive to work for you and the state with complete dedication,” said Biplab after the ceremony.
The eventual celebrations before, during and after the ceremony were nothing short of euphoric despite heightened security. The swearing-in ceremony had layers of security cover because of the presence of high-level dignitaries. Apart from PM Modi, Home Minister Rajnath Singh and other senior BJP leaders, outgoing CM Manik Sarkar was also present.