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Union Minister Pratima Bhoumik quits Tripura Assembly

Bhoumik tendered her resignation to the Protem speaker Binoy Bhushan Das who was administered oath by Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in the Raj Bhawan

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Agartala: Union minister of state for social justice and empowerment Pratima Bhoumik who won just concluded assembly election from Dhanpur constituency in Sepahijala district of Tripura resigned on Wednesday, a day before the formal swearing-in ceremony of legislators.

Bhoumik tendered her resignation to the Protem speaker Binoy Bhushan Das who was administered oath by Governor Satyadeo Narain Arya in the Raj Bhawan. Her resignation reduced the BJP’s strength to 31 in the 60 members assembly.

As per the constitutional mandate, Wednesday (the 14th day) was the last day to decide her choice whether she would continue as MLA or MP and the party told her to discontinue from the state assembly.

Bhoumik said, “With the direction of BJP central leadership I have resigned from the MLA post and continue as a member of Loksabha until the term is over. I had contested the assembly elections at the directive of the central leaders and with the blessings of my native people I won the seat as BJP candidate first time in the 50 years of electoral history of Tripura.”

She was the aspirant for the post of Chief Minister but the party didn’t accept her, instead making the outgoing Chief Minister a dental surgeon turned politician – a well-accepted Dr Manik Saha last week as announced prior to the election. Pratima was also reportedly persuaded for the deputy chief minister berth but the party didn’t agree even to accommodate her in the state cabinet.

According to party insiders, Bhoumik along with Rajya Sabha MP and former Tripura CM Biplab Kumar Deb and a few more BJP leaders allegedly worked against Dr Saha, former Deputy CM Jishnu Dev Varma, party president Rajib Bhattacharjee, and veteran saffron leader of the state Ramprasad Paul in the assembly election, which was the reason for the defeat of Dev Varma and Bhattacharjee although Dr Saha and Paul survived narrowly. 

The BJP in Tripura has been facing a factional squabble since 2018 soon after BJP led government came to power, which had generated a massive anti-incumbency across the state. The party nine months before the election had to change Biplab Kumar Deb and made Dr Saha Chief Minister. Though he could manage the anti-incumbency by his clean image, failed to prevent the factionalism in the party that was believed to be a reason for the slim margin of majority, barely over the halfway mark.

The sources claimed that the former Deputy Chief Minister and veteran BJP leader Jishnu Dev Varma who lost the election from Charilam in a narrow margin would be inducted into the cabinet very soon with important portfolios and the party would field him in the by-election from the vacant seat Dhanpur.

Meanwhile, Protem speaker Das said that as many as 22 BJP legislators, 11 CPI(M), and 3 Congress legislators would administer oath on Thursday in the assembly lobby while the 13 MLAs of the main opposition TIPRA Motha would take oath on Friday.

The Speaker and Deputy Speaker would be elected on the first day of the maiden session of the assembly scheduled on March 24.

The Deputy Chief Executive Member of Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (ADC) senior TIPRA Motha leader Animesh Debbarma and Executive Member Chitta Debbarma have tendered their resignation from ADC, as both of them won the assembly elections.

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