* Seasoned politician, enthuses Bijoya
* An asset, will embrace him: Prashanta Phukan
* BJP stronger now, exults Rajen Gohain
* 'Mission 84' will become 90: Rameswar Teli
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Aug 23: State BJP leaders had been gunning for him time and again - the latest being in the Saradha and Louis Berger scams.
In fact, BJP's parliamentary committee had recently released a document titled 'Saga of Congress scams' which featured Sarma's me in the million dollar Louis Berger scam.
Suddenly, on Sunday evening, as Himanta Biswa Sarma went into a huddle with BJP tiol president Amit Shah in New Delhi and later announced his decision to join the party, he became a darling of the saffron party, "a seasoned politician" and an "asset" to the very same BJP leaders who were long after his head.
"Himanta is a seasoned politician. The party has expressed keenness in roping him into the fold. A number of Congress MLAs would also be joining the party," enthused Guwahati MP Bijoya Chakraborty.
Dibrugarh BJP MLA Prashanta Phukan also welcomed the development and said it has broken the backbone of the Congress. "He will be an asset. We will embrace him in the party," he said, as BJP workers burst crackers in various places to celebrate.
MP Rameswar Teli said earlier the BJP's mission was 84 seats, but now with Himanta's joining, the party can expect more than 90 seats in the Assembly elections next year.
Rajen Gohain, BJP Lok Sabha member from gaon constituency, said the party has become "stronger" with Sarma's induction.
"A powerful leader from the Congress has joined, so the BJP has become stronger, and the Congress will become weaker," Gohain said.
However, sources told The Sentinel that not all in the State BJP unit are happy with the development.
A strong lobby within the State BJP - including Union minister Sarbanda Sonowal - had opposed Himanta's induction. Sonowal - known to be close to the party's central leadership - was not present at today's meeting at Shah's residence. Some senior leaders like MP RP Sharma had been vocal in asserting that his party cannot be a "refugee camp" or "dustbin" for "rejected" politicians. "If we are to fill up all vacancies by imported and rejected leaders, then where will our old party workers go?" the Tezpur MP had questioned.
Sources in the State BJP said there could be an upheaval in the party, especially during the tussle for tickets. "Already, the BJP has received some 3,000 applications for tickets. If Congress legislators join the party, the party leadership will face a tough time as it would not be easy to ignore old and dedicated workers," said the sources.