With the BJP on the cusp of ending the Left Front’s 25-year-rule in Tripura, state party chief Biplab Kumar Deb today said he was ready to take on the mantle of chief minister, but a decision on it would be taken by the party’s highest decision making body, the Parliamentary Board. Deb, a gym instructor-turned-politician, thanked the people of Tripura for their overwhelming support and credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi and BJP chief Amit Shah with the party’s showing. “I am ready to take the responsibility. I will not run away from taking any responsibility,” he told reporters here when asked if he would accept the task of chief ministership. However, the BJP leader said a final decision on the next chief minister of Tripura would be taken by the BJP Parliamentary Board, which would meet in New Delhi in the evening. “I have already been given a bigger responsibility, the party’s state presidentship, which I have been fulfilling to the best of my ability,” he said.
The BJP has so far won four seats and is leading in 34 in the 60-member Tripura Assembly, while its ally Indigenous People’s Front Of Tripura has won four seats and is ahead in four others. The CPI-M has won four seats and is leading in 13. Deb said the people of Tripura favourably responded to the BJP’s call to root out the CPI-M government, which has been ruling the state for more than two decades. “People responded favourably to our call call ‘Chalo Paltai’ (Let’s Change),” he said. Deb said the next government’s priority would be all-round development of Tripura and people voted for the BJP as there had been total backwardness in the state under the Manik Sarkar government. “The word development does not exist in the dictionary of the CPI-M. Our government will provide good governance and time-bound implementation of all developmental works,” he said. Sarkar has been chief minister since 1998. He is a politburo member of the CPI-M and has been ruling the state for the fourth consecutive time. Elections in 59 seats, out of the total 60, were held on February 18. The poll in one seat was countermanded due to the death of the CPI-M candidate.