2 Tripura BJP MLAs who quit party join Congress, claim more coming

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Dissident Tripura MLAs of the ruling BJP — Sudip Roy Barman and Ashis Kumar Saha, who resigned from the Assembly and the party on Monday, Joined the Congress in New Delhi on Tuesday. AICC in-charge for Tripura, Nagaland and Sikkim, Ajoy Kumar in his tweets said that Roy Barman and Saha joined the Congress in presence of party leaders Rahul Gandhi and Priyanka Gandhi Vadra.

Tripura Pradesh Congress President Birajit Sinha and former state President Gopal Roy and other leaders including Ajoy Kumar were also present when the two leaders joined Congress at the residence of Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in Delhi.

Both Saha and Roy Barman while separately talking to IANS over phone, claimed that more than five BJP MLAs would join the Congress after March. “The BJP MLAs who are intended to join would have to complete certain organisational and technical matters before joining the Congress. Besides the BJP MLAs, a large number of saffron party leaders and workers would also join the Congress as everyone is disillusioned with the party (BJP),” Saha, a former minister, said.

Roy Barman, a former Minister, and Saha had told the media in Agartala before leaving for Delhi that they have also sent their resignation letters to the BJP’s state President Manik Saha. Roy Barman said: “The BJP government led by Deb utterly failed to deliver. An autocratic rule has been prevailing in the state. People are in serious distress. We want to work for the people as we are unable to do this while remaining in the BJP.”

Roy Barman and Saha were earlier in Congress before joining Trinamool Congress (TMC) in 2016 and then to BJP next year (2017).

Earlier, BJP MLA Ashish Das after openly criticising the saffron party and its leadership including Chief Minister, joined the TMC on October 31, 2021 following which he was disqualified from Tripura Assembly by Speaker Ratan Chakraborty on January 5 (this year).

Two other BJP MLAs — Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl and Burba Mohan Tripura – also went to Delhi on Monday along with Roy Barman and Saha but their political positions have not yet officially been announced. BJP, on the other hand, downplayed the resignations of Roy Barman and Saha and said that their quitting from the Assembly membership would not create any constitutional crisis in the state.

State BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee said that it was expected that Roy Barman and Saha would leave BJP. “They have been openly criticising the Chief Minister and other party leaders. Their resignation from the Assembly and the party has no importance to BJP,” Bhattacharjee told the media.

Roy Barman, Saha and three other BJP MLAs — Ashish Das, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl and Burba Mohan Tripura — in August last year held a big gathering in Agartala which was attended by many local BJP leaders and workers. They had also met BJP’s National President J.P. Nadda and other central leaders and Ministers and Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and apprised them about the “misgovernance in Tripura and Chief Minister’s authoritarian style of work”.

To curb the rebellion in the party and to set the governance right, several central party leaders led by BJP’s North East Zonal Secretary (Organisation), Ajay Jamwal, had visited the state several times. In the presence of the central party leaders, three BJP MLAs — Ram Prasad Paul, Sushanta Chowdhury, Bhagaban Chandra Das — were on August 31 last year inducted into the Tripura cabinet in its first cabinet expansion after the BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) alliance assumed charge in March 2018.

The open dissent and internal dispute in the ruling BJP began after Roy Barman, who was holding the Health and Information Technology departments, was sacked in May 2019 following differences with Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.

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