Biplab Deb, the Tripura
chief minister’s resignation
on Saturday may have come as a surprise for the
state, but is not a new move for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). In state
after state, the BJP has changed chief ministers right before the polls. Only
last year, the BJP changed CMs in Uttarakhand, Gujarat and Karnataka.   

Deb, 50, became
Tripura CM in 2018 by defeating the Manik Sarkar-led Left Front government that
had ruled Tripura for 25 years. With one year to go before Assembly elections, and
mounting opposition from the Mamata Banerjee-led Trinamool Congress, the BJP
decided Deb had to go.

Also Read | Why did Biplab Kumar Deb resign?

Upon tendering his
resignation, Deb said: “I have served the people of Tripura to the best of my
capabilities to provide them justice and give them a Left-free state with the ‘marg
darshan’ of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The assembly elections are coming and
the party wants be to strengthen the organisation. It is only when the
organisation is strong, will there be government.”

BJP’s strategy to
change CMs on the eve of polls is often regarded as an attempt to offset
anti-incumbency. In Gujarat, Narendra Modi’s state that goes to polls later
this year, Chief Minister Vijay Rupani had to resign and make way for Bhupendra
in September, 2021.

Uttarakhand, which
went to polls earlier this year and saw the BJP return to power with a majority,
also changed CMs months before the polls. Tirath Singh Rawat resigned after just
four months in power to make way for Pushkar Singh Dhami who returned with a
thumping majority.

In Karnataka, the
removal of BS Yeddyurappa came with its own set of political challenges. The
only southern state with a BJP government, Narendra Modi’s party had to tread
lightly so as to not alter demographic balances. The party came up with
Basavaraj Bommai, who has been leading the state through a particularly
turbulent time over communal troubles.

Biplab Deb is
being replaced by Manik Saha, Tripura BJP chief and a member of the Rajya
Sabha. The 69-year-old dental surgeon-turned-CM said, “I was a common worker of
the party and will continue to be so.”

Biplab Deb
congratulated Manik Saha saying, “Congratulations and best wishes to @DrManikSaha2
ji on being elected as the legislature party leader. I believe under PM Shri
@narendramodi Ji’s vision and leadership Tripura will prosper.”