FROM OUR Correspondent
Silchar, May 25: The two phase assembly elections in the state which took place on April 4 and April 11 saw an 85% voter turnout, highest ever for Assam. It is higher than the rest of the country in the assembly elections. The BJP alliance has won 86 seats out of the 126 seats of the assembly and formed the new government with Sarbanda Sonowal as its Chief Minister. Assam has always been considered as in the stronghold of Congress. But, after three consecutive terms in power, it lost. To find out the reasons behind Congress debacle, The Sentinel met with Karnendu Bhattacharjee, former MP of Rajya Sabha for two terms and former MLA and present president of Silchar District Congress Committee. Bhattacharjee is one of the most senior and frontline leader of the party in the state.
What is the prime reason behind the debacle of Congress in the state?
There are three reasons behind it. Firstly, the selection of the candidates for this assembly election was done by the party high command and APCC without consulting the district Congress committees. In many constituencies, deserving and better candidates could not avail themselves with party tickets. It caused adversely in many places. Secondly, the message that Tarun Gogoi, who led us for the last 15 years as the Chief Minister, tried to convey to the people did not reached them properly. And thirdly, the people of the state were looking for a change as well as the anti-incumbency factor.
Why Himanta Biswa Sarma went to BJP?
He is a good leader. He was asking to listen to him many times, but the party high command did not give him any opportunity. Leaving the party was his own choice, it’s a huge lose for us. But, it’s not that he led BJP to the power, the people were looking for a change.
Last time in Cachar, out of the 7 seats your party had 5 MLAs and BJP only 1, now BJP have 6 MLAs and your party only 1, was the people losing their confidence over Congress?
See, like BJP’s ‘maha-sampark programme’ we too came up with ‘Booth Micro Magement Programme’ (BMMP). We went door to door and met with the people, listened to their grievances too, but as I said earlier, people were looking for a change. People always have their confidence and faith on us and Congress will always stay by their side.
Udharbond was always been a Congress domited constituency, Ajit Singh has been winning the seat consecutively since 1998, but this time people’s mandate went to BJP, why?
I can say, it is due to the overconfidence of the candidate which caused his defeat, not just him but most of the candidates of the party here did the same mistake. It is true that Udharbond is one of the key places where people have chosen Congress for many times. They have given their mandate to BJP because of the anger and anguish on the leaders of the party who failed to reach them.
After the defeat in Assam, is there any possibility of changing in leaderships in the state and the central level of the party?
It is completely up to AICC and APCC. I have no comments.
After 15 consecutive years in power, now Congress will sit in the opposition. Will Congress be comfortable?
It is not the first time that we have faced with defeat. Even, under the dymic leadership of former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi, we sit in the opposition. We know our duties and will perform an ideal role of opposition.
Want to convey any message for the new government?
I know Sarbanda Sonowal in person, when I was a MP of Rajya Sabha he was a MP too. He is a good leader. I believe that he will lead the state and its people very well. I wish Sarbanda and his team all the very best.