Sun. May 29th, 2022
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NEW DELHI: Gujarat, Uttarakhand and now Tripura.
Yet another BJP chief minister has resigned ahead of assembly elections, in what appears to have become a template for the party.
Tripura chief minister Biplab Kumar Deb has stepped down ahead of assembly elections in the state which is scheduled early next year.
Biplab Deb, who has often been in the news for his comments on various views, made the announcement after meeting the party top brass in Delhi.
He was appointed chief minister after the BJP stormed to power in 2018, ending 25 years of Left Front rule in the state.
“The 2023 election is coming, and the party wants a responsible organiser to take charge of the affairs here. A government can only be formed if the organisation is strong. After the elections, someone will obviously become chief minister. The party wants me to work to strengthen the organisation,” Biplab Deb said.
Biplab Deb’s sudden exit may have less to do with the resentment against his leadership. The decision to replace him could be part of a well thought out poll strategy that has helped the BJP in several other states.
The experiment started in Gujarat.
Anandiben Patel was ousted 16 months before the 2017 Gujarat assembly election. Her successor, Vijay Singh Rupani was removed 15 months before the 2022 state polls.
While the BJP has been on a very strong wicket in the state, the leadership changes ahead of elections possibly helped the party in countering any likely impact of anti-incumbency.
In Karnataka, the saffron party forced B S Yediyurappa to quit even after he led the BJP campaign to dislodge the Congress-Janta Dal (Secular) government in the state.
The state goes to polls in 2023 and there are already rumours if Yediyurappa’s successor B S Bommai will lead the party or there will be yet another leadership change.
More recently in Uttarakhand, the BJP changed not just one but two chief ministers in the run up to the assembly elections and yet emerged victorious.
First Trivendra Singh Rawat was removed as chief minister and then his replacement Tirath Singh Rawat also had to quit. Eventually, Pushkar Singh Dhami led the party to victory in state elections though ironically he lost his own assembly seat.
Another BJP chief minister who possibly faces an uncertain future ahead of assembly elections is Jai Ram Thakur in Himachal Pradesh.
The BJP has fared poorly in the last round of byelections in the state losing a Lok Sabha seat and two assembly seats to the Congress. It remains to be seen if the BJP goes to polls under him.
Now, let’s analyze three states where the BJP decided to go with the incumbent chief ministers in the recent past – Jharkhand, Maharashtra and Haryana.
In Jharkhand, BJP’s decision to continue with Raghubar Das backfired as the party lost power in the state.
In Maharashtra, BJP went to polls with Devendra Fadnavis as its CM face and did emerge as the single largest party. However, with the Shiv Sena making a political somersault, the BJP could not manage to form its government in the state.
In Haryana, BJP’s decision to persist with Manohar Lal Khattar as the chief minister almost cost the state to the party. The BJP could not win a majority on its own but managed to form a government with the help of a regional party.

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