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Ex-CM Biplab Kumar Deb.

Dissidence within the ruling BJP in Tripura continues as several legislators of the saffron party led by party MLA Ramprasad Paul pulling out all the stops to effect a change of guard in the State.

Rebel legislator Paul had recently hosted a party where 18 out of the 36 BJP MLAs, including deputy chief minister Jishnu Dev Verma, were present.

MLAs close to Paul, however, said that it was a “programme of exchanging greetings”.

A few days after the function billed as ‘Bijoya Sammelan’, the RSS-backed rebel MLA went to New Delhi and met the party’s senior-most general secretary Arun Kumar.

In the course of the meeting, Paul is understood to have “highlighted the Government’s poor performance in Tripura and the people’s anger within 31 months of the party coming to power”.

Sources said the appointment of Manik Saha as the party’s state president has further angered the rebel MLAs.

“As per the BJP’s guidelines, a leader needs to have worked actively for the party for at least 10 years, but Saha, who joined the party in 2018, has now been made the state party president. This is not acceptable,” said a former state BJP chief in Agartala on Thursday.

“During our Delhi visit, we had a meeting with the party’s central leaders including JP Nadda and Arun Kumar during which we briefed them on how the party is losing its ground due to the unethical works of a section of leaders,” he maintained.

Reports suggest that the rebel MLAs have been trying to put pressure on chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb to expand the BJP-IPFT Cabinet.

Three portfolios have been lying vacant currently, but Deb is reportedly reluctant to expand the Cabinet.

Meanwhile, sensing trouble, a powerful lobby within the State party unit has sent two senior leaders to New Delhi to neutralise Paul’s bid to effect a change of guard in the party.

Sources said the two leaders have been trying to meet the party’s central leadership.

The rebel MLAs expect that the BJP’s central leadership would put things in order once the Bihar election process is over.

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