2 Tripura MLAs quit BJP, likely to join Congress

They have left for Delhi and may meet Congress leader Rahul Gandhi

February 07, 2022 01:15 pm | Updated 02:51 pm IST - Agartala

Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs Sudip Roy Barman and Ashish Kumar Saha speak to the media after submitting their resignation papers to Tripura Legislative Assembly speaker Ratan Chakraborty, in Agartala on February 7, 2022.

Bharatiya Janata Party MLAs Sudip Roy Barman and Ashish Kumar Saha speak to the media after submitting their resignation papers to Tripura Legislative Assembly speaker Ratan Chakraborty, in Agartala on February 7, 2022.

Ending months of speculation, dissident BJP MLAs Sudip Roy Barman and Asish Kumar Saha on Monday resigned from the party. They also submitted their resignation to the Tripura Assembly Speaker.

Earlier, MLA Ashis Das left the BJP and joined the Trinamool Congress. He was, however, disqualified as a legislator under the Anti-Defection Law.

Responding to the latest resignations, Speaker Ratan Chakraborty said he will soon initiate proceedings as per the rules. “I have received their resignation but not accepted yet,” he told  The Hindu .

The dissident MLAs have also quit the BJP and intimated their decision to State party president Manik Saha. The party has not yet responded to the development.

Mr. Barman and Mr. Saha, both five-time MLAs, are rumoured to have taken a decision to return to the Congress. After submitting their resignation, they left for Delhi and are likely to meet the Congress top brass, including Rahul Gandhi.

They will return on Saturday and disclose their future political plans, Mr. Barman said. He added they have reportedly garnered the support of some more BJP MLAs and there will be a time when the BJP-led coalition government will be reduced to a minority.

Mr. Barman, who was axed from the Council of Ministers 15 months after he was made Health Minister, was leading the dissident camp within the BJP. He was charged with anti-party activities during the Lok Sabha election in 2019.

Leadership’s moves

The party’s central leaders had tried to quell the rebellion by sanctioning the induction of two rebel MLAs Ram Prasad Paul and Sushanta Chowdhury in the Ministry on August 31 last year. Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb also inducted an SC community Minister and replaced Rebati Mohan Das with Ratan Chakraborty as Speaker of the Assembly.

Sources in BJP said the central leaders did approach Mr. Barman with a ministerial berth, but the latter insisted on changing the Chief Minister. Mr. Saha too declined to become a Minister.

After tendering their resignation, Mr. Barman said they would end the alleged misrule and repressive regime with the support of the ‘oppressed and scared’ people of the State. He said he was feeling relaxed after severing ties with the BJP.

The BJP had 36 MLAs and its coalition partner IPFT had eight. IPFT MLA Brishaketu Debbarma earlier resigned and joined the TIPRA, which is currently ruling the tribal autonomous district council.

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