Agartala: Sixty-nine year old Professor of Dental Surgery in Tripura Medical College Manik Saha was sworn in as Chief Minister of Tripura on Sunday in a simple ceremony at the Raj Bhawan here.
State Governor Satyadeo Narain Ar administered the oath of office and secrecy to Saha in the glittering Darbar hall.
Saha took oath alone as the party is yet to finalise the list of his cabinet members due to large-scale dissidence among the MLAs and party functionaries following a sudden change of Chief Minister.
Many legislators including Deputy Chief Minister in Saha’s predecessor Biplab Deb’s cabinet, Jishnu Dev Varma and three other former ministers including Ram Prasad Paul stayed away from the swearing-in ceremony.
However, former Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb along with some of his cabinet colleagues including Ratan Lal Nath and IPFT leader and former Tribal Welfare Minister Mevar Kr Jamatia and nd a few other MLAs and BJP leaders graced the occasion.
Saha told the media after the oath: “We are soldiers of the party. Whatever assignment I have been given, I shall perform it to the best of my ability. I shall do the best for the overall development of Tripura.”
Deb tendered his resignation on Saturday following instructions from the BJP central leadership. Saha had joined BJP in December 2016 and after the party came to power two years later, he became the president of Tripura Cricket Association in 2019. In January 2020, Saha succeeded Deb in the post of president of Tripura’s BJP unit. In March 2022 he was elected to Rajya Sabha from the state.
Saha is known to be a staunch loyalist of Deb and his rapid rise in the Tripura BJP hierarchy has been made possible to a large extent due to his equation with the former Chief Minister.
The announcement of Saha as the BJP legislature party leader on Saturday, allegedly bypassing the views of 41 MLAs of BJP and IPFT, has triggered chaos in the party.
Two BJP legislators – former minister Ram Prasad Paul and Parimal Debbarma – revolted against the party’s decision while Dev Varma went incommunicado immediately after Saha became CM.
Despite several attempts of BJP central leaders including Saha and a dozen party functionaries since Saturday night, Dev Varma has remained untraceable.
Saha completed his Bachelor in Dental Surgery course from Government Dental College, Patna, and secured the fourth position in the university rankings.
He obtained his post-graduation degree in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from KGMC, Lucknow University, in 1995. Later, he also served in Tripura health service, finally becoming a professor of dental surgery at Tripura Medical College.