SILCHAR: The sudden visit of Himanta Biswa Sarma, Minister of Education & Finance, to Silchar on Tuesday evening has surprised many, including the inquisitive media.
In fact, the visit was closely guarded within the BJP circles. It came to light during his interaction with the media at the airport that his visit was primarily meant to discuss organizational matters and the overall preparations for the forthcoming elections. Media persons were not allowed into the party headquarters at Itkhola here.
But the watchful media could understand from their interactions with him that the State BJP was upset with the developments in Cachar.
Denial of ticket to Kanad Purkayastha and his father Kabindra Purkayastha's anguish and anger hitting media headlines; sitting MLA Dilip Paul's declaration to contest as an Independent candidate; Rajdeep Goala's stoic silence for sidelining him to favour Kaushik Rai with nomination for the Lakhipur seat and outgoing Borkhola MLA Kishor Nath's reported move to file nomination from Algapur, an AGP bastion; have been quite disturbing for the BJP leadership.
The matter was, therefore, left for Himanta Biswa Sarma to clam the aggrieved ticket aspirants and to make them work as a team.
Sarma did succeed in making the patriarch, Kabinrda Purkayastha understand the predicament of the party's State leadership. The State Selection Committee of the party favoured Kanad Purkayastha, but the ground level survey indicated preference for Deepayan Chakraborty. In the road show, Kanad was seen with Himanta Biswa Sarma joining steps with him.
Sarma also left a message for Dilip Paul through the media. He reminded him that selection of party candidates is not the absolute domain of the State BJP leadership. It largely depends on surveys of various agencies. He also reminded Dilip Paul that in 2016, then ticket aspirant Dr Rajdeep Roy was not given the party ticket, yet he (Dr. Roy) did not raise any eyebrow. Rather, he worked with the party as a team and ensured the victory of Dilip Paul with a thumping majority. He hoped that Dilip Paul would change his mind in the larger interest of the party.
On Rajdeep Goala, Himanta Biswa Sarma knew the victory track of his father Dinesh Prasad Goala, a Congress heavyweight who won from Lakhipur LAC for seven consecutive terms and also that the flag of victory was kept aloft by Rajdeep in the 2016 general elections even after the death of his father Dinesh Prasad Goala in 2012. He categorically pointed out that Rajdeep Goala was never given any assurance of BJP ticket for 2016 after he decided to join the saffron party.
On Kishore Nath, however, Minister Sarma maintained silence.
On Wednesday evening, a defiant Dilip Kumar Paul called the media to his new party office at Ambicapatty to announce his decision to contest as an Independent candidate.
Against these backdrops, it remains to be seen as to what extent Himanta Biswa Sarma was able to douse the simmering dissension and discontentment within the party. It will be clear from how the disgruntled ticket aspirants react and behave. But the manner in which Dilip Paul reacted has much to worry for the district BJP committee.
Despite all the hiccups and the discordant notes, Himanta Biswa Sarma confidently announced that the BJP will return to power. The real story will be evident on May 2 when results of the Assembly polls will be announced.
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