GUWAHATI: Just months ahead of the Assembly elections, two Congress MLAs and a senior leader of the BPF (Bodoland People's Front) joined the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party) at the party's office in Hengerabari here on Tuesday.
Former State PWD Minister and Congress MLA from Golaghat Ajanta Neog, party's former Lakhipur MLA Rajdeep Gowala, and senior BPF leader and former BPF MLA from Gauripur Banendra Kumar Mushahary joined the ruling party in the presence of its State president Ranjeet Kumar Dass as well as Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Forest Parimal Suklabaidya.
With the exit of these two MLAs and the deaths of former Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and former Speaker Pranab Kumar Gogoi — both Congress legislators — the strength of the Congress in the Assembly has come down to 20.
Neog and Gowala had met Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his two-day visit to Guwahati on Saturday and Sunday. On Friday, Congress president Sonia Gandhi had expelled Neog for alleged anti-party activities.
After joining the BJP, Neog said, "The BJP has a futuristic agenda whereas the there is a huge gap betwen the public and the high command as well as many top leaders of the Congress in Assam. I will try my best to achieve the mission of the BJP in 2021 Assembly elections."
Goala said, "I joined the BJP as I was motivated with the work carried out by the party and also the unity among its members. I will work for the party and for the people in Barak Valley."
Mushahary said, "The BPF has influence only in a limited area. I joined the BJP as it has offers a much wider scope to work for the public."
Welcoming the new leaders to the party, BJP State president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said, "As directed by the party's national president, Amit Shah ji, we have constituted a screening committee for the people who wishes to join the BJP."
Addressing the gathering, Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "We warmly welcome the three new members to the party. From now on, we expect that they will keep in mind the party's welfare, and will be driven to work for the common people."