Assam: BJP cadres miffed with reports of Congress leaders joining saffron camp
Guwahati, Oct. 5 (IANS): Even as the Assam BJP has cancelled a mega joining camp that was scheduled to be held in the presence of Union Home Minister Amit Shah during his upcoming visit to the state on October 8, speculation is still rife that many Congress leaders are in the queue to join the saffron camp.
Among the prominent names doing the rounds is Pranjal Ghatowar, who is the son of former minister and Congress leader Pawan Singh Ghatowar.
Senior Ghatowar once had a solid grip over upper Assam from where he won elections a number of times. However, he lost in the 2016 Assembly elections to BJP candidate Chakradhar Gogoi from his home turf Moran. In 2021, Gogoi again won from Moran, defeating Ghatowar’s son Pranjal this time.
Meanwhile, BJP leaders in the state are miffed with the talks of Ghatowars joining the saffron party.
Moran MLA Chakradhar Gogoi said: “The Ghatowar family has no connect with the voters on the ground. The father-son duo lost elections against me twice. The family has always been anti-BJP. There must be some motive behind their desire to join the BJP.”
Terash Gowala, BJP MLA from Duliajan, also expressed unhappiness over the development. He said if Ghatowars join the BJP, the morale of the grass-roots cadres will take a blow.
State minister Jogen Mohan also said that the party should pay heed to the objections raised by the MLAs.
Similarly, Rahul Roy, the son of another former Congress minister, Gautam Roy, is also on the probables list of new joinees.
Notably, Gautam Roy had switched side ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections and fought on a BJP ticket, but lost. At that time too, speculation was rife that his son Rahul Roy might get an entry into the ruling party though it did not happen eventually.
Rahul Roy, a former congress MLA, had unsuccessfully contested the 2021 Assembly polls as an Independent candidate. Though he refused to comment on joining the BJP, Rahul Roy’s close aides have claimed that he has already received a green signal from the top.
If BJP takes Rahul Roy into the party, there are high chances of dissent among the current state leaders. It is widely believed that Gautam Roy, the one-time Congress heavyweight, lost the last elections due to sabotage from dissenters within the party.
Meanwhile, Assam Congress’ working president and North Karimganj MLA, Kamalakhya Dey Purkahystha, was seen visiting a BJP MLA’s house during Durga Puja.
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma too visited Purkaystha’s constituency during Durga Puja with the latter accompanying Sarma in pandal hopping.
However, Purkayastha has denied the news of him joining the saffron camp, terming it as a rumour.
He said: “During Durga Puja, we forget about political affiliations and try to devote time to praying for everybody’s well-being.”
Assam BJP president Bhabesh Kalita said that the aspirants’ list to join the party is long, but the leadership is yet to decide on the names.
Though Kalita has not spoken any further on this issue, many party leaders are unhappy over the news of fresh entrants to the BJP. This might have been the reason behind the state leadership postponing the joining camp at the last minute to avoid any controversy during Shah’s visit.