By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, July 17: Who will lead the BJP Assam Pradesh as president in the next three years? This single question has sprung up a number of lobbies in the party in the State. The race, it seems, is going to be a neck and neck one with a number of strong contenders want to be in the fray.
So far, the organizatiol poll in the party is very smooth. While the booth-level committees in the party have already been formed smoothly, the formation of mandal committees are nearly over and the formation of district-level committees of the party have already been started. Now all eyes in the party and political pundits in the State are set to the top post in the party. Going by the one-man-one-post formula, Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal quitting the post of party president is certain. It was one of the reasons why Sonowal had to hand over charge to Santanu Bharali, one of the vice presidents of the State committee of the party.
Some developments that took place in the recent past in the party have made the number of candidates in the race for the post of the president fewer than it was thought to be. The induction of MP Rajen Deka as the Minister of State for Railways by Prime Minister rendra Modi lessened at least one probable candidate. It was followed by an open declaration by MP Ramen Deka not being interested in State politics. Making such a statement, Deka made it crystal clear that he is not going to be in the race for the post of State president of the party.
With two senior leaders making their stands clear, the mes that come to the fore are present in-charge president Santanu Bharali, Pradip Thakuria, Jadav Deka and Meera Barthakur.
The party high command wants such a leader as state president is who smart in tightrope walk. This is because the party has been in a fragile situation soon after coming to power. Some decisions taken by the Sonowal Cabinet like VAT hike and the Centre’s decision to auction 12 oilfields in the State have started to backfire with people taking to the streets in the State. This apart, the issue of AIIMS site selection is going to be a major issue, seemingly with the involvement of some unseen forces. In such a situation, the State president of the party should be such a man who can ensure an improved Dispur-Atal Behari Vajpayee Bhawan and party-people relationships through smart balancing act. In fact, the party leadership has already felt the need of the party and Dispur working in tandem with each other. The party has still miles to go in so far as dispelling people’s doubts over the decisions and policies of the government and the party.
Who has more chances of getting the hot post? A brief SWOT (Strength, Weakness, Opportunities and Threat) alysis sounds worthy.
It needs no mention that current in-charge president Santanu Bharali is in the good book of Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal, who is still the president of the party. In his brief tenure as in-charge president of the party he has proved that he can work taking all into confidence.
Talking to The Sentinel, Bharali said: “As a sincere party worker I do all duties entrusted to me by the party high command, and I’ll continue to do so.”
Senior party leader Dr. Pradip Thakuria has been associated with the party for about 25 years, since 1991. He was a BJYM leader. He took voluntary retirement as a professor so as to devote full time to the party. He was state spokesperson and general secretary of the party. He has sought party ticket from West Guwahati LAC but the seat was given to the AGP in the seat-sharing arrangement.
When asked, Dr. Thakuria said: “I’ve been working for the past 25 years for the party. I’ve done sincerely whatever the party entrusted me to do. I’ve sacrificed a lot, including voluntary retirement from service, for the greater interest of the party. I always respect party decisions as a sincere worker. If I’m given the responsibility of State president of the party, I’ve full confidence that my experience will let me run the party in accordance with party principles.”
Jadav Deka was Kamalpur MLA. However, in the last Assembly polls in the State, he had to sacrifice the LAC for the AGP candidate respecting the party decision. However, the party is yet to reciprocate him by suitably placing him in the party.
Talking to The Sentinel, he said: “I’m 20-year-old in the party. I did join the BJP attracted by its principles, policies and ideology. I was an MLA. However, in accordance with the party command I had to sacrifice my seat, and opted not to fight the last Assembly elections. I never opposed any party decisions. If the party entrusts me the responsibility of party president in the State, I’m ready to do my duty with sincerity. I’m ready to do whatever responsibility the party wants to entrust me. Even if the party doesn’t entrust me any responsibility, I won’t lament. Nor will I leave the party.”
Meera Barthakur has 13 years in the party. She is a front-runner as a woman in the party. She is good at getting party ideas across. In the last 13 years she held many party posts. The party is still to make any woman president in Assam.
When contacted, she said: “I’m ready to do with sincerity whatever responsibility the party entrusts me. I’ll work by striking a perfect balance between the government and the party, and go ahead by taking all, new workers of the party and the old ones as well.”
Among those who have much say on the selection of the party president are Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal, the MPs of the State and the State RSS and its headquarters at gpur. The party leadership is supposed to take the views of all stakeholders while giving the fil seal.