Silchar, June 10: It needs no repetition that Barak Valley in general has been the bastion of Congress except for the intervening period of Janata Dal Raj in the mid 70’s and the emergence of BJP in the 80’s. Since the first general elections of 1952, it has all along been the dominance of Congress. But, the 2014 Parliamentary elections and the installation of BJP led government headed by Narendra Modi and subsequently the Assembly polls of 2016 and the coming to power of Sarbananda Sonowal led government came as a stumbling block to the winning streak of Congress. A ray of hope did come for Congress after BJP lost one after another Assembly and Lok Sabha by elections in different states. And the formation of government by Congress-JDS combine in Karnataka came as a morale boaster for the opposition to unite and fight to block the return of Narendra Modi in the elections of 2019. In order to further add grist to the mill of keeping BJP off the track, the Congress high command and the top leadership took the decision to observe ‘Betrayal Day’ to mark the completion of four years of NDA government, the main target being the charismatic and crowd pulling Narendra Modi.
Silchar District Congress could not keep itself aloof from the anti BJP swing and quite befittingly Sushmita Dev, MP and All India Mahila Congress president, took the lead in bolstering up the sagging morale of the party workers and leaders of all rungs. Besides being on contact with them, particularly the disgruntled leaders, she galvanized the block and panchayat level units to bring out processions with placards and banners to highlight the failures of Narendra Modi government and carry forward the message of betrayal to hit the psyche of voters.
Like a shrewd but witty politician, Sushmita Dev began her campaign of ‘home coming’ by some of the leaders of the party at the helm of affairs who had for reasons, just or unjust, distanced themselves which, according to observers, brought about the doom of the party in 2014 and 2016. These leaders include Tamal Banik, Atanu Bhattacharjee, Sajal Acharjee, Sanchita Acharjee and Saibal Dutta among others. Unless these key figures of the party are taken into confidence, Sushmita Dev knows well it will be difficult for her to Cross the Rubicon. How far, she will succeed to bury the hatchet, only time will tell.
Apart from laying stress on unification in the party, Sushmita Dev has taken up another strategy to arrange on foot and by cycle campaign in the rural areas to convey the message to the people that Congress alone can deliver goods and meet the hopes and aspirations of the masses. The objective is also to expose the tall promises of BJP led government at the Centre and the State. So far reports of campaign have come from Tapang, Palanghat, Kalain and Katigorah blocks of Cachar where the workers went for sloganeering against the government in power. Besides, the rising prices of essential commodities, diesel and petrol, harassment of people in the name of NRC and ‘D’ voters have come handy for propaganda. How far all these tactical moves of the Congress leadership will have the desired impact on ground is difficult to assess. Admittedly, Sushmita Dev, the daughter of the most formidable leader Sontosh Mohan Dev and Bithika Dev, MLA of the time, faces the biggest challenge of strengthening the base of Congress as her first priority on the agenda.