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Split in the Congress

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  1 July 2015 12:00 AM GMT

The resigtion of Hiranya Bora and another senior member Diganta Kalita from the Congress on Monday should have been taken very seriously by the party if it is at all aware of what is good for it and what is not. Hiranya Bora has been an active member of the Congress since the early 1960s—in other words, for the best part of his adult life. He has been a member of the Assam Legislative Assembly four times. What precipitated matters that led to his resigtion from the party was his recent questions about the crimil backgrounds of some of the present leaders of the Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC) and other related issues. On June 20, Bora demanded State Congress president Anjan Dutta’s resigtion for his alleged involvement in the multi-crore Saradha chit fund scam. Bora, who had not been inducted in the new executive committee of the PCC, also questioned Anjan Dutta’s educatiol qualifications. It will be recalled that the PCC has served show cause notices on five members of the Congress, including Hiranya Bora and Diganta Kalita. The other three Congressmen served with show cause notices for their public criticism of Anjan Dutta and their questions about his educatiol qualification were former Lok Sabha member Bolin Kuli, and senior members of the party Ra Khan and Adil Shah. All five of them were required to send in their responses by Tuesday. Hiranya Bora had also been accused of trying to blackmail the party.

With the resigtion of two senior members of the Congress and the resigtion of former Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma from the Tarun Gogoi Cabinet in July last year, the old issue of dissidence can no longer be claimed to be a trivial matter. The formation of a new political party by the dissidents is now a very distinct possibility. This is in addition to the political party being launched by Akhil Gogoi. The formation of a breakaway party by dissident Congressmen should take place by September or October this year. There is, however, some difference in the strategy for the split among the dissidents. One group is understood to have demanded a collective resigtion from the State Assembly by September this year. Another group is a little more circumspect in testing the waters. This group would like to wait for the possibility of a by-election before September. If this happens, only one of the dissident Congress MLAs will resign and join the proposed new party. He would then try to win a possible by-election from his own constituency. And after the MLA wins the election, the other dissident lawmakers would resign and join the new party. This is a strategy to play safe and not take any chances without some assurance of electoral success. This gives rise to a whole gamut of questions about what the new political party would be likely to do in the event of the Congress actually letting the single dissident win in order to create a false sense of strength for the new party and then coming out in its true colours in the hope of winning the rest of the Assembly seats. At the same time, the chances of a Congress victory in 2016 (even without any split) are somewhat remote given the miserable performance of the Tarun Gogoi government during its third innings, what with the countless broken promises, the total lack of development and the attempts to paper over its failings with a plethora of meaningless State awards that cannot fool the people. The edifice of a dystic political party is beginning to crack, and there is perhaps very little that anyone can do to stem the rot. What the dissidents may achieve is no more than a slight advancement of the inevitable.

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