Biplab Deb, BJP's youngest state chief, could be Tripura's next chief minister with the party scoring what it calls a "historic win" in a state that has chosen the Left for 25 years. In his first remarks, he credited everyone but himself: "Prime Minister (Narendra Modi), Amit Shah, Ram Madhav and Himantada (Biswa Sarma) worked together for the people of Tripura."
- I am ready to take the responsibility, says Biplab Kumar Deb
- Biplab Deb was moved to Tripura two years ago as the BJP's chief
- BJP's youngest chief in any state, he was a volunteer with RSS
But he also made it clear that he was ready for the top job.
"I am ready to take the responsibility. I will not run away from taking any responsibility," he said, adding that it was up to the party leadership to decide.
The BJP's youngest chief in any state, Biplab Deb was a volunteer with the RSS or Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the ideological mentor of the BJP.
The 48-year-old father of two shifted to Delhi 15 years ago and, after a stint in the RSS, apprenticed with BJP leaders in Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
Two years ago, he was moved to Tripura as the BJP's chief in a seemingly unassailable Left fortress. It was widely seen as a punishment posting in a state that has chosen the CPM for five straight terms. He replaced Sudhindra Dasgupta, the longest-serving chief of the BJP in Tripura.
The BJP had nothing to lose in Tripura by handing the reins to a young, local face.
Its gamble paid off, alongside the strategy to play on anti-incumbency against four-time chief minister Manik Sarkar.
Biplab Deb was mentored by Sunil Deodhar, the BJP's Tripura in-charge known for managing Prime Minister Narendra Modi's campaign in the 2014 national election in Varanasi, one of the two constituencies that he contested.
The BJP said that its assessment revealed Biplab Deb was more popular than Manik Sarkar in the state, and had the potential to emerge as a formidable alternative to "India's poorest chief minister", known for his clean image. Biplab Deb was noticed for his impressive oratorical skills.
Born in Udaipur in south Tripura, he became a fixture on BJP posters in the run-up to the election.
Mr Deb's wife, a deputy manager at the State Bank of India's Parliament House branch, said: "It took a lot of hard work and it has been very difficult. Often we did not speak for months."