Updated: March 4, 2018 8:25:05 am
During the 2013 assembly elections, Biplab Deb was undergoing training in RSS’ Delhi headquarters in Keshav Kunj. Cut to 2018: The 48-year-old has upstaged the 25-year-long Communist rule in the landlocked northeastern state in a remarkable feat, coming as it did, barely five years into the Left Front’s stupendous win with 50 seats in the 60-member state assembly.
Deb could very well have been termed an ‘outsider’ in the state’s political landscape, but for the fact that he was born and brought up in south Tripura’s Udaipur. After graduating from Tripura University in the year 1999, Deb moved to the national capital and trained under RSS veteran KN Govindacharya.
It was during his time with the RSS that Deb caught the attention of Sunil Deodhar, the BJP’s Tripura in-charge, who scripted the saffron miracle in the red bastion. Later, when the BJP made Deodhar the in-charge, Deb was introduced to the people of the state.
He was made the president of the state BJP and in a very short period he caught the imagination of the electorate, displaying impressive oratory skills and an overall pleasing personality. In Deb, the anti-left constituency finally found an alternative to the formidable four-term chief minister Manik Sarkar, universally admired known for his clean image.
The state opposition leaders, propped up by the Congress over the years, were largely a discredited lot in the eyes of the electorate due to successive defeats and also the Congress’ misrule between 1988-93 , the last time the party was in power before being dislodged by the CPI(M). Deb is married to a North Indian who works at the State Bank of India’s Parliament House branch. He declared total assets of Rs 47 lakh in his poll affidavit.
Officially, the BJP did not declare any chief-ministerial candidate during its campaigning, but the fact that Deb would succeed Sarkar as Chief Minister was a foregone conclusion with his image smiling down from every poll banner across the state and also because of the absence of any strong leader who could rival Deb’s personality as they were mostly Congress turncoats.
Deodhar maintained that the party will take a call on the CM candidate only after the poll verdict, and that his images have been used for his position as the state BJP chief, but the message was loud and clear and the electorate was only happy to endorse that message.
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