Unease at Assam BJP camp over Himanta & Co.

Nine rebel Congress MLAs meet Amit Shah sans any State BJP leader

By Our Staff Reporter

Guwahati, Sept 5: The purported euphoria over Himanta Biswa Sarma's joining the BJP has subsided, to be now superseded by an undercurrent of growing disenchantment within the State BJP. The discontent was apparent on Saturday with none of the State BJP leaders accompanying Himanta Biswa Sarma when he paraded nine rebel Congress MLAs and the lone TMC legislator from the State before BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi.

Sarma, who said he will quit as an MLA in a day or two, claimed Amit Shah expressed his desire to meet the 10 MLAs he had brought along – Jayanta Malla Barua, Pijush Hazarika, Pallab Lochan Das, Bolin Chetia, Kripath Malla, Binda Saikia, Pradan Barua, Rajen Borthakur and Abu Taher Bepari, besides TMC legislator Dwipen Pathak.

Sarma claimed that as many as 500 NSUI, Youth Congress and district-level Congress workers would join the BJP in a day or two. He also claimed that ten other Congress MLAs, including a minister, are willing to join the BJP.

However, senior State BJP leaders expressed ignorance over Sarma’s claim.

Insiders said only three of the Congress legislators – who met Amit Shah today – are likely to get tickets – Pijush Hazarika, Pradan Barua and Bolin Chetia.

The district BJP units of lbari, Dhemaji and Hajo – which are represented in the assembly by Jayanta Malla Barua, Pradan Barua and Dwipen Pathak respectively - even staged demonstrations today protesting the party’s top leadership meeting with the rebel Congress and TMC legislators.

Sources said that Hajo unit BJP president Ramani Malakar, who was apprehensive of getting a ticket, played a key role in roping in the TMC legislator, sparking reactions from his colleagues.

The discontent stems from apprehensions that BJP old-timers and ticket aspirants might be sidelined after the rebel Congress legislators join the party.

“Since the last few days, a number of senior BJP functiories have become dormant. They are not coming to the party office. Some of them have even cautioned that if things continue like this, they may abstain from poll-related campaign work,” said an insider.

“We were in the party during its bad days. Some of us had even spent money from our pockets for party work. Now when there are good days, people from other parties are jumping in to reap the fruits of our dedicated efforts. The tiol leadership should realize this. A dissident in another party cannot be a sincere worker in a different party,” he added.

There are a number of “dedicated” party workers who are aspiring for tickets in the constituencies of the rebel Congress legislators who are likely to join the BJP soon.

The State BJP camp is reported to be divided into three camps now – one headed by Sarbanda Sonowal who enjoys the support of tribal members, another headed by Siddhartha Bhattacharjee who has a good rapport with the Sangha Parivar and the third formed by Himanta Biswa Sarma and his henchmen.

Though the party is trying to keep the differences under wraps, insiders say the dissension may boil over in the open very soon.

Meanwhile, Congress MLAs Bolin Chetia and Abu Taher Bepari have resigned as parliamentary secretaries and their resigtions have been accepted by the Chief Minister.

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