Ex-minister Ratan Chakraborty elected Tripura Assembly Speaker

Veteran politician and former minister Ratan Chakraborty on Friday was elected unopposed as the 14th Tripura Assembly Speaker after his predecessor Rebati Mohan Das abruptly quit the post earlier this month, citing “personal reasons”.

Tripura Assembly Deputy Speaker Biswa Bandhu Sen, who was a strong contender for the post, announced Chakraborty’s name as the Speaker of the House on the opening day of the Monsoon Session.

Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb and opposition leader and former Chief Minister Manik Sarkar formally escorted the new Speaker to his chair.

Assembly Secretary Bishnu Pada Karmakar told IANS that Chakraborty was the only candidate whose nomination papers had been submitted till Thursday, the last date.

The main opposition CPI-M, which has 16-members in the 60-member Assembly, did not contest the election.

Chakraborty said that he would perform his new responsibility with all his sincerity and ability.

“After around three decades, I have been chosen for a constitutional post, and for this, I am grateful to Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb,” Chakraborty told IANS.

The choice of the three-time MLA for the post is considered significant as Sen and a few other BJP MLAs were also said to be contenders for the post.

Chakraborty, who joined the BJP in 2017 and was elected from the Khayerpur constituency in 2018 polls, is a former minister in the Congress-led government (1988-1993).

Party sources said that Chakraborty’s elevation was part of the BJP central leadership’s decision to revamp both the government and the party organisation ahead of the 2023 Assembly polls.

In view of open resentment by a section of the ruling party MLAs and leaders led by former BJP Minister Sudip Roy Barman, three new faces — Ram Prasad Paul, Sushanta Chowdhury, Bhagaban Chandra Das — were inducted into the Tripura cabinet last month in the first ever expansion of the three-and-a-half-years old BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) alliance government.