9 cabinet ministers take oath

Biplab Deb govt keeps three ministerial posts vacant, IPFT given two cabinet berths

By Debraj Deb in Agartala
  • Published 10.03.18

Agartala: The Biplab Deb cabinet has three vacant berths while the nine of those sworn in on Friday as ministers, including the chief minister, have no ministerial experience.

Tripura is the only state of the three in the Northeast that saw installation of new coalition governments this week, to keep three ministerial berths vacant.

Nagaland, Meghalaya and Tripura Assemblies have 60-member Houses with a 12-member council of ministers.

Apart from Biplab Kumar Deb who became the chief minister, Jishnu Devvarma, the deputy chief minister elect, also took oath of office. Former Opposition leader and veteran leader Ratan Lal Nath, Sudip Roy Barman, Pranajit Singha Roy, Manoj Kanti Deb and Shantana Chakma, all BJP leaders, were also sworn in.

Apart from them, Indigenous Peoples Front of Tripura (IPFT) chief N.C. Debbarma and general secretary Mevar Kumar Jamatia also took oath of office as ministers in the new government. Though a few of them have been MLAs before, none of the new ministers have any experience in the treasury benches.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the swearing-in ceremony here on Friday, urged Opposition legislators to "help" the new government by sharing their experience. Governor Tathagata Roy administered the oath of office.

BJP state general secretary Rajib Bhattacharjee told reporters that Dilip Das, doctor-turned-politician and MLA from Barjala constituency, has been proposed for the Speaker's post. Lawyer-turned-politician Arun Chandra Bhowmik, MLA from Belonia constituency, is proposed as Deputy Speaker.

The BJP's poll ally, the IPFT earlier demanded four cabinet berths but had to be content with two.

Assam minister and election in-charge for Tripura Himanta Biswa Sarma reportedly assured the IPFT that it might be given one more seat if the cabinet strength was increased.

Deb said, "This is not the first time a few cabinet berths have been kept vacant. A few berths were not filled up when the BJP government was formed in Assam, too."

Nine ministerial berths remain to be filled up in Assam though the BJP-led government was sworn in in 2016.

He said the vacant seats might be filled up considering "eligibility, district-wise and ethnic representation".

Highest stress would be laid on capability of the candidate, the chief minister added.

IPFT general secretary and new cabinet member Mevar Kumar Jamatia was unavailable for comment.