New Delhi: BJP MLA Dibachandra Hrangkhawal resigned from the Tripura assembly on Wednesday, becoming the seventh legislator of the ruling coalition in the northeastern state to quit this year.
Hrangkhawal, the MLA of Karamcherra in Dhalai district, cited personal reasons for his resignation. The state is set to go to the polls early next year.
“Today, I have submitted my resignation as an MLA to the secretary of the assembly as speaker Ratan Chakraborty was not present. I have resigned on personal grounds,” he told reporters.
Hrangkhawal, who was the president of the state Congress, switched over to the BJP just before the 2018 assembly elections.
“I have not decided yet on my next course of action but will obviously remain in politics since I am a political person,” he said.
Hrangkhawal was accompanied to the assembly by senior state Congress leader Asish Kumar Saha, who had resigned as a BJP MLA earlier this year, Congress youth leader Baptu Chakraborty and party spokesperson Prashanta Bhattacharya.
According to the Indian Express, asked if he would be returning to the Congress, Hrangkhawl said: “You will know when I take the decision. But that’s not for today.” He described the Congress leaders who accompanied him on Wednesday as “good friends”. He said he had similar ties with people in the BJP and CPI(M) also.
Hrangkhawl is a close associate of former minister and senior leader Sudip Roy Barman, who recently returned to the Congress after quitting the BJP. As leaders of the saffron party, Hrangkhawl and Barman were two major critics of the way in which Biplab Kumar Deb functioned, after which the latter was sacked as chief minister.
BJP spokesperson Subrata Chakraborty told the news agency PTI that Hrangkhawal’s health was ailing and that could be one of the reasons for his resignation. “This will not impact the party’s prospect in the ensuing assembly election,” he claimed.
With this, the BJP lost four of its MLAs this year. Besides Asish Kumar Saha, Sudip Roy Barman and Burbo Mohan Tripura also resigned earlier this year. MLA Asish Das of the Surma constituency was disqualified for misconduct.
Roy Barman and Saha resigned and joined the Congress in February. Roy Barman won in a by-election later but Saha lost to chief minister Manik Saha.
Das had joined the Trinamool Congress but left the Mamata Banerjee-led party too. He is out of active politics now. Burbo Mohan Tripura has joined the TIPRA Motha, a regional party.
The Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), a constituent of the BJP-led coalition, also lost three of its MLAs – Dhananjoy Tripura, Brishaketu Debbarma and Mevar Kumar Jamatia. The resignations of Dhananjoy Tripura and Mevar Kumar Jamatia were accepted by the speaker but Brishaketu was disqualified on the account of “procedural fault”.
The three leaders have joined the TIPRA Motha.
The BJP has 34 MLAs in the 60-member assembly, while its ally IPFT has five. The opposition Congress has one MLA and CPI(M) has 15 legislators, while five seats are vacant.
(With PTI inputs)