Amid dissidence by a section of BJP MLAs and leaders in Tripura, a ruling party legislator, Ashis Das, on Monday praised West Bengal Chief Minister and Trinamool Congress supremo Mamata Banerjee.
Talking to the media in Kolkata, Das, an MLA from Surma in northern Tripura, also criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for “selling most government properties to private parties”.
Praising Banerjee for winning the bypoll in Bhabanipur by a record margin, the BJP MLA said that many people and organisations want Banerjee as the Prime Minister and her elevation to the post is very crucial as she is a Bengali.
“Mamata Banerjee is now a very popular political face in India. Once Modi’s messages stirred the minds of people from all sections across the country. Modi had once said that ‘Na khaunga, na khane dunga’, but now it has become a popular jumla (joke) in the country,” the 43-year-old saffron party legislator said.
He said that at the Centre and the states, the BJP has been running governments in an “autocratic style”.
Das, who is in Kolkata for the past two days, said that he has some programmes in Kalighat on Tuesday and after completing the events, he would disclose his future course of action.
“At the moment, I will not disclose Tuesday’s programmes in Kalighat, whether it is religious or political,” Das told IANS.
When asked about Das’s comments, BJP spokesman Nabendu Bhattacharjee told IANS that the senior party leaders would look into the matter.
Das and four other BJP MLAs — Sudip Roy Barman, Ashis Kumar Saha, Diba Chandra Hrangkhawl and Burba Mohan Tripura – recently held a big gathering in Agartala which was attended ny many local BJP leaders and workers.
To plug the rebellion in the organisation and to set the governance right, several central party leaders led by BJP’s North East Zonal Secretary (Organisation), Ajay Jamwal, have rushed to the state several times.
In the presence of the central leaders, three BJP MLAs — Ram Prasad Paul, Sushanta Chowdhury, Bhagaban Chandra Das — were on August 31 inducted into the Tripura cabinet in its first expansion after the BJP-IPFT (Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura) alliance assumed office in March 2018.
In a sudden political development, Tripura Assembly Speaker Rebati Mohan Das also resigned from his post citing “personal reasons” and Congress-turned-BJP leagilator Ratan Chakraborty was chosen for the post on September 24.
Since the BJP-IPFT government assumed office on March 9, 2018, three ministerial berths were lying vacant and in May 2019 former Health and Information Technology Minister Sudip Roy Barman was sacked following differences with the Chief Minister, taking the number of vacancies to four.
Barman’s removal from the ministerial post had fuelled open resentment in the ruling party.
Barman, the son of former Chief Minister and Congress leader Samir Ranjan Barman, recently said that he would not work under the leadership of Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb.
“Leaders of the government and party organisations are not keen to listen to the opinion, grievances and suggestions of the district and grassroots leaders. That’s why we recently organised a conference. That was not against the BJP or to join the Trinamool Congress,” Barman said.
Barman, who along with six other Trinamool Congress MLAs and a large number of workers and local leaders joined the BJP in 2017, said that he recently met BJP President J.P. Nadda, Home Minister Amit Shah and other central leaders and apprised them about the political situation in the state.
However, the dissident BJP leader on Monday refused to divulge the details of his meeting with the central leaders.