BJP rules out leadership change in Assam

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, July 5: Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal today ruled out any leadership change in the State BJP unit and said the party will contest the 2016 Assembly elections under the incumbent president Siddhartha Bhattacharjee.

There have been speculations about a possible leadership change ahead of next year's elections, with some senior leaders reportedly not happy at the style of functioning of Bhattacharjee.

"We will fight the elections under Siddhartha Bhattacharjee's leadership and we are confident of showing good results," Sonowal said during an interactive session with representatives of 22 tribal organizations.

Sonowal also said that appointment of Union minister Dharmendra Pradhan and general secretary Ram Madhav as election-in charges of Assam will help strengthen the party.

Sonowal also lambasted the Congress-led State government for allegedly failing to meet the aspirations of tribal communities despite ruling the State for three consecutive terms.

"The tribal people have told us their problems. We will prepare a report and submit it to Prime Minister rendra Modi. We are hopeful that the present government at the Centre will look into their grievances," Sonowal said.

The representatives from tribal organizations alleged that Central funds meant for tribal people are not being utilized properly in the State. "Nearly 60 per cent of the Tribal Sub Plan is diverted for other purposes," they alleged during the session.

The representatives also expressed anguish that the State government has done little to free the encroached tracts of tribal belts and blocks.

Sonowal felt that a comprehensive study on the status of tribal communities in the State was needed. He also said that his party is "seriously pursuing" the demand for ST status to six communities - Koch- Rajbongshis, Morans, Muttocks, Chutiyas, Tai Ahoms and the tea tribes - from Assam.

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