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In deepening Congress crisis in Assam, two MLAs 'extend support' to BJP govt

Congress leader Debabrata Saikia said CM Sarma was using ED and the tax department to falsely implicate the Congress leaders in order to force them to join BJP.
Last Updated : 14 February 2024, 11:46 IST
Last Updated : 14 February 2024, 11:46 IST

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Guwahati: The Opposition Congress in Assam found itself in another crisis ahead of Lok Sabha polls when a former minister and a senior MLA openly "extended support" to the BJP-led government in the state, on Wednesday.

MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, a prominent leader from Bengali-dominated Barak Valley, resigned as working president of the party's state unit. Dey and Basanta Das, former fisheries minister, later met CM Himanta Biswa Sarma and posed for photographs along with other BJP MLAs in the Assembly premises.

Dey, who was later seen touching the feet of CM Sarma and offering welcome in the Assembly premises, however, said he would still remain a member of the Congress. "Yes, I have got an offer from the CM and I accepted it," Purkayastha told reporters. He represents Karimganj North Assembly constituency.

Congress insiders said the two MLAs are likely to formally join BJP as they were close to CM Sarma, when he was a minister in Tarun Gogoi-led Congress government.

Reacting to the development, Bhupen Kumar Borah, president of the party's state unit told reporters that he has sent the video footage of the two MLAs to AICC in-charge of Assam, Jitendra Singh and was awaiting a response from the high command.

This came a few days after former minister Bishmita Gogoi and former president of the party's youth wing, Angkita Dutta switched over to BJP. Congress on Tuesday said it decided the candidates to contest five out of 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam.

Adding to the woes, another Congress MLA, Sherman Ali claimed that all leaders in Assam except Gaurav Gogoi are in the "pay-roll" of CM Sarma and further claimed that the Congress would remain a party for the miyas (immigrant Muslims) only as the Lok Sabha polls approaches.

CM Sarma said barring one or two, all leaders in Congress "directly or indirectly" supported his government and would continue their support given the development works being done both by the Centre and the state government.

Debabrata Saikia, leader of the Congress Legislature Party in Assam Assembly said CM Sarma was using ED and the tax department to falsely implicate the Congress leaders in order to force them to join BJP. The ED and vigilance department reportedly initiated an investigation against Purkayastha recently in an alleged corruption case.

Congress at present has 27 MLAs in the 126 member Assembly. Sixteen of them are Muslims.

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Published 14 February 2024, 11:46 IST

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