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It's destination BJP for Assam Congress netas

Exits have now spread to tribal leaders and labour union chiefs.

, ET Bureau|
Updated: Aug 13, 2019, 11.41 AM IST
We cannot stop anyone from going. However, this is a phase. In Assam, even the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and BJP had faced a situation where leaders quit, says Ripun Bora, Assam Congress President.
GUWAHATI: Many prominent Congress leaders in Assam have quit the party recently, with several others on the verge of exit. The exodus was triggered by Sanjay Sinh , the Amethi royal and Rajya Sabha MP from Assam, who resigned to join the BJP last month.

Last week, Bhubaneswar Kalita, the party’s chief whip in the Rajya Sabha, also joined the saffron party. His decision came soon after Article 370, which gives Jammu and Kashmir special status, was debated in the Upper House. Kalita, whose term was to end next year, also resigned from the House. The grand old party received a fresh jolt on Saturday when former Rajya Sabha MP and prominent tea tribe leader Santiuse Kujur also quit.

This followed the resignation of Rajendra Prasad Singh, another tea tribe leader and former MLA from Tinsukia, who had long been associated with the Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha, the largest body of tea workers in Assam. Singh left to join the BJP last Thursday. Kujur told ET, “I feel Congress is directionless and going nowhere. The party has been leaderless for several months now. The Pradesh Congress is caught in infighting. The atmosphere is not congenial.”

Another prominent Congress party leader from the Barak Valley and former minister Gautam Roy, who had been nursing a grudge against the party leadership in Assam and was seen celebrating the defeat of Congress candidates Sushmita Dev and Swarup Das in the recently held Lok Sabha polls, has also quit. Dev, the Mahila Congress president in the state, lost from Silchar, while Das tasted defeat from Karimganj. Roy said, “the party will remain; however, it is not the same party with which I associated several years ago.”

Gautam Roy, Santiuse Kujur and another congress leader Hiranya Bhuyan joined the BJP on Sunday. Prior to the 2016 assembly polls, former Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma and several MLAs supporting him had left the party. “Congress in Assam is facing repeated electoral drubbing since 2014. Presently, the Congress leadership in Assam — party president Ripun Bora, leader of the opposition in the state assembly Debabrata Saikia and former chief minister Tarun Gogoi — are speaking in three different voices,” a senior Congress leader, who did not want to be named, told ET.

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