There is some form of dissidence brewing within the BJP in Tripura. The party’s state observer Vinod Kumar Sonkar arrived on Saturday for a three-day visit in order to sort out the differences within the party. During his visit, some individuals touted to be BJP supporters by the media raised slogans such as ‘Biplab hatao, BJP bachao’ against the CM Biplab Deb.
There is only one problem with that headline however. There appears to be circumstantial evidence to suggest that people associated with the CPI(M), the primary opposition party in the state, were present there at the spot. The official Facebook page of CPI(M) Tripura went live with visuals of the protests against Biplab Deb with over 2 and a half hours of footage.
Thus, it appears extremely likely that people associated with the CPI(M) were present there to capture the scene and if they were there to capture the scene, it is entirely within the realm of possibilities that the protests saw participation from the CPI(M) as well.
Sources close to the Chief Minister told us that the CPI(M) told us that they suspect that people from opposition parties were also present at the spot. Commenting on the dissidence within the party, they told us that the dissident MLAs themselves are politicians who had jumped ship from the opposition parties to join the BJP.
Another claim that was made by the dissident MLAs is that they have support from 25 MLAs from the BJP. Sources close to CM Biplab Deb, however, rubbished these claims. They suggest that the dissident MLAs number at five or six at the most. The dissident MLAs are mostly those with Congress backgrounds. Sudip Roy Burman, the MLA believed to be leading the dissidence, is the son of the last Congress leader to have served as the Chief Minister in the state before the Left front stormed to power in 1993.
CM Biplab Deb also appears to have complete support from the central leadership of the party. The sources said, “Chief Ministers are chosen keeping in mind certain factors. Look at the history of the BJP. Are CM faces generally changed? When someone is made the CM, a lot of factors are considered. So, of course, Biplab Deb has the support of the central leadership.”
The BJP also does not believe that there is any threat to its government in Tripura. Even if an attempt is made to jump ship, then the dissident MLAs might stand to lose their membership from the Assembly, which will give the party enough strength to continue to remain in governance. Matters have not nearly escalated to that point as yet and it is very likely that the dispute will be resolved soon with an expansion of the cabinet.