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Assam: Is Congress losing out to BJP due to a lack of leadership?

By Devabrata Dutta

GUWAHATI: Four-time Congress MLA from Mariani LAC, Rupjyoti Kurmi, has submitted his resignation to the party to the Assam Assembly Speaker today and announced his decision to join the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), giving a major jolt to the Congress’ aspirations in Assam.

“Young leaders do not get a chance in Congress. The same person will be facilitated with two-three posts years after years. What about us? Congress ignores newcomers, grassroots workers and indigenous minority leaders,” said Kurmi while speaking with the media after handing over his resignation to speaker Biswajit Daimary.

Congress has been seeing turmoil from last year itself, but due to strong leadership under late Tarun Gogoi, the longest-serving chief minister of Assam, the party managed to stay afloat.

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But in the past few months, especially after Tarun Gogoi’s demise, the party started crumbling and many blamed it on the lack of collective leadership in the party.

Kurmi has been very vocal about his wishes from the party and openly discussed his wish to hold the post of APCC president right after his oath-taking ceremony as an MLA this year.

“Am I not capable of being APCC president? Or any higher post that has been held by the same people over and over? Even I asked for the post of Chief Whip of Congress Legislature Party. But did not get it. Hence whosoever were being appointed they should look after the party now. I quit,” said Kurmi.

Kurmi further alleged that APCC president Ripun Bora and Rakibul Hussain have “destroyed” the party completely. “There are two-three more people I do not wish to name at this moment.”

“We lost in Kerala, in West Bengal, not a single MLA won. Things were similarly bleak in Tamil Nadu, Puducherry as well. AICC has failed everywhere because they are not ready to listen to the grassroots workers of the party,” Kurmi opined.

While leaving the party last year, veteran Congress leader Ajanta Neog also called the Congress party ‘visionless’.

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Migration from Congress to BJP is not a new thing as we can see that the BJP Assam unit has already started looking like the former Congress party, as alleged by BJP leader Ramen Deka. The old party leaders themselves are losing their position in the party due to the migration of outsiders.

The first major migration took place when the current chief minister and BJP strongman Himanta Biswa Sarma and his close aide Pijush Hazarika switched loyalties to the saffron party in 2015.

Sarma later alleged that when he once went to talk with Rahul Gandhi, instead of listening to Sarma’s observation about the Congress party to strengthen it, Gandhi was busy feeding his dog Pidi. That’s where Sarma made his mind to leave the party as he felt no collective development could be done staying in this party.

“If Rahul Gandhi stays at the helm of AICC, the party can never move forward,” said Kurmi today.

Meanwhile, Kurmi has appreciated Himanta Biswa Sarma for his leadership and also revealed that the two of them had a meeting last night around 1 am.

“I played my role as an opposition MLA quite well in my last tenure. But I have not been able to work for my constituency as per my wish. My constituency’s development should not stop.” Kurmi announced. “Hence I have decided to join BJP officially on Monday in Lakhimpur.”

On the other hand, Congress spokesperson Jury Sharma Bordoloi has also tendered her resignation from the party today. She was made President of Guwahati Guwahati City District Congress Committee months before the election but the Congress could not win a single seat from there out of four.

“Two more Congress MLAs will leave the party after me,” Kurmi revealed further.

Also Read: After Rupjyoti Kurmi, Angkita Dutta To Swap BJP For Congress?

If rumors are to be believed, as many as 8 Congress leaders are in constant talk with the BJP — including an MP. Of the seven MLAs, three are from lower Assam, two from Barak Valley and two from the Upper Assam region, among which Sarukhetri MLA Jakir Hussain Sikdar and Kamrimganj North MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, Thowra MLA Sushanta Borgohain and Amguri LAC candidate Angkita Dutta.

Although Assam Congress has constituted a committee under the chairmanship of Rana Goswami to take stock of Kurmi’s constituency Mariani, there is a feeling that its attempts might have come a bit too late.

InsideNE tried to contact Congress leaders Pradyut Bordoloi, Gaurav Gogoi, Debabrata Saikia and Angkita Dutta, but the calls were not answered.

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