AGARTALA: Manik Saha, a Rajya Sabha parliamentarian, has been named the new chief minister of Tripura, replacing Biplab Kumar Deb, who assumed the post in 2018.
Soon after Deb’s resignation a year ahead of state assembly elections, Saha, 69, was elected leader of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) legislative party, although he is not a member of the state assembly.
“I will continue to work as a party karyakarta (functionary) in my new position,” Saha said after being named as chief minister designate.
A well-known dental surgeon, Saha quit the Congress and joined the BJP in 2016. During his initial days in the party, he was pristha pramukh in-charge of urban areas in the booth management committee in the 2018 assembly polls.
He was made in-charge of the 2018 membership drive started by the saffron party before the state went for polls.
After BJP’s thumping victory in the assembly polls, he was given the responsibility of in-charge of booth management committee for 2019 parliamentary elections.
He was made state president of the party in 2020, a post that was occupied by Deb for four years.
“Manik Saha has the quality of a good leader. He has knowledge about organizational activities,” said BJP spokesperson Nabendu Bhattacharya. “We wish him luck on his new journey as chief minister. “
Saha’s political career started shining when he was elected as the lone Rajya Sabha MP from Tripura in March this year.
Born in 1953, he completed a Bachelor of Dental Studies programme from Government Dental College in Patna and later pursued Master of Dental Surgery in Oral and Maxillofacial Surgery from King Georges’ Medical College in Lucknow.
Besides being a practising dental surgeon, Saha was head of department of dental surgery at Tripura Medical College and Dr BR Ambedkar Memorial Teaching Hospital at Hapania in Agartala. He was honoured with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contribution in dental surgery by the Indian Dental Association and Tripura government.
Before joining the saffron outfit, Saha was president of the Teachers Association of Tripura Medical College and participated in welfare movements for medical college and students. He also joined the premedical movement in 1976 and was charged under the Essential Services Maintenance Act while leading a movement for welfare of medical college teachers and students during the erstwhile Left Front regime.
Dr Ranabir Roy, senior dental surgeon said, “I have worked with him as a junior. He is a good mentor and always keep on inspiring the juniors. I wish him good luck for his new position.”
Saha has won certificates for representing in different national and university level sports events as an athlete and badminton player. He got recognition of the best NCC cadet in 1970 in the junior boys division.