Biplab Deb, 48-year-old Tripura BJP chief, has been elected by party legislators as their leader in the state assembly and is expected to take oath as chief minister on Friday, March 9 at a grand ceremony likely to be attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and where the BJP plans to showcase its many chief ministers from around the country.
- Biplab Deb expected to take oath as chief minister on Friday
- Ceremony likely to be attended by PM Modi
- Mr Deb said Jishnu Debbarma will assist him as deputy chief minister
Union minister Nitin Gadkari, who oversaw today's meeting of the newly-elected BJP legislators, announced that Mr Deb had been chosen to be chief minister. Mr Deb said senior BJP leader Jishnu Debbarma will assist him as deputy Chief minister.
Mr Gadkari is now leading the BJP delegation to the Raj Bhawan, where Mr Deb will stake claim to form govermment. The BJP posted a stunning victory on Saturday winning 35 of Tripura's 60 assembly seats - 43 along with a regional ally - and ousting Left party CPM, which was in power for 25 years.
Over breakfast this morning Biplab Deb, who speaks only in Hindi and Bengali, talked to NDTV about the priorities of his new government and his new role after spending years as a Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) volunteer, saying, "People inspire me...they are my Dal, Roti (staple)."
Mr Deb spent 15 years away from Tripura, training under top RSS leaders in Delhi, before he was dispatched to Tripura in 2016. He is credited with building the BJP's cadres in the last two years leading up to the spectacular victory. In assembly elections five years ago, the BJP had won zero seats.
The young chief minister designate promised that he is focused on "good governance," stating, "There has been a huge change in my life. I love the people of Tripura. I even love the Communist and Manik Sarkar but I am annoyed that they got so much time but did not utilise the resources of the state to develop it. We will rebuild it from scratch." Mr Deb will take the place of the Left's Manik Sarkar, known for his clean record and called India's "poorest chief minister." Mr Sarkar was chief minister for 20 years.
Biplab Deb misses his family, who are still in Delhi. "I keep remembering my children who study in Delhi and even my wife is away, she keeps on coming and going. Now I am very busy, so I cannot talk to them much on the phone and there are people around me so I cannot talk to them openly," he said.
He also misses going to the gym, the chief minister-to-be said. "In Delhi I used to go to shakha. When I started working for ministers in Delhi I got busy, so I joined the gym and after work I would gym. It was a good way to keep away from youthful indulgences like cigarettes," said Mr Deb, who has said media reports that he used to be a gym trainer were wrong.