The evening of 23rd August witnessed a sudden event in the Assam politics when Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma, former Assam Minister and Congress legislator joined Bharatiya Janta Party. However, Mr. Sarma already had been making attempts to join BJP from the past few months.
Anjan Dutta, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President made it clear at 05:21 PM that he was not having any such news with him and none of the party member’s, MLA’s or MP’s was having any news of the sudden switch of Mr. Sarma from Congress to BJP.
Just after the announcement of Mr. Dutta, Mr. Himanta Biswa Sarma entered the residence of BJP President Amit Shah with Sidharth Bhattacharjee, BJP state President at 05:28 PM. Finally at 05:43 PM Mr. Sarma announced on facebook formally regarding his switching over to BJP. At 06:15 PM Mr. Sarma sent his resignation to the congress party.
At 06:30 PM, after the meeting at Amit Shah’s residence ended and both Himanta Biswa Sarma and Sidhartha Bhattacharjee addressed the media outside Amit Shah’s residence and announced the confirmation of joining BJP.
Mr. Pradyut Bora, who had been with the BJP till 18th February 2015 resigned from the party as and when he sensed that the party was all set to welcome Himanta Biswa Sarma. Pradyut Bora had stood up against Himanta Biswa Sarma in the last elections in 2011 and since then he has always been against him. Pradyut Bora is now the President of Liberal Democratic Party, a party which has taken birth in the Indian politics very recently.
Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader Akhil Gogoi has always been maintaining his stand against Himanta Biswa Sarma and he has accused BJP of Brahman politics. He says that BJP has welcomed Himanta Biswa Sarma in the party to sideline Sarbananda Sonowal. He has also called BJP to be a dustbin.
After receiving the resignation from Himanta Biswa Sarma, Anjan Dutta has said that in spite of resignations, congress shall strive in 2016 and the foot soldiers of congress are the main support and congress shall win even if any individual resigned from the party. He has held close door meetings with few party members at Rajib Bhawan yesterday evening itself.
Gourab Gogoi, Congress MP and son of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said that respects the decision of Himanta Biswa Sarma but he expressed that there might be silent tumult within the party for the Chief Minister candidate of BJP. He wanted to know from BJP that would their CM candidate for the upcoming elections be Sarbananda Sonowal or Sidharth Bhattacharjee or Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Himanta Biswa Sarma had made several notable remarks against BJP. In April 2014, in a meeting held at Tezpur he had called Modi a terrorist and said that blood of Muslims flew through the pipes of Gujarat. Following such a comment, BJP had filed complaint against him the Election Commission had issued show cause notice to Himanta Biswa Sarma. Few years back when Hema Malini was in Assam to promote BJP, Himanta Biswa Sarma said in a meeting at Nalbari that girls of Nalbari were more beautiful than Hema Malini.
Himanta Biswa Sarma is an important personality in the current Assam politics and his switching over to BJP may be a major setback to Congress as Himanta Biswa Sarma has many supporters at his back even beyond his constituency. Many of the current MLA’s also stand with him. There are possibilities that BJP might drain away the votes and support of many from congress.
In the Louis Berger case, former Goa ministers Alemao Churchill and Digambar Kamat have been taken into custody by the Goa police and their bail pleas have been rejected. Louis Berger Group Inc had signed contact agreement with Guwahati Metropolitan Development Authority (GMDA) along with Nihon Suido Consultants Co Ltd, Japan, and Mumbai-based Shah Technical Consultants Private Ltd on February 5, 2010 to provide “certain consulting services” for one of the four new water supply projects that the GMDA had taken up in the past few years. While GMDA has undertaken three major water supply projects for Guwahati city, all of which are running behind schedule, the specific project for which Louis Berger and its two other associates had signed the consultancy contract was the JICA-assisted South Central Guwahati Water Supply Project. Himanta Biswa Sarma was holding the Guwahati development department portfolio when Louis Berger was selected as consultant for the Guwahati water supply project. US Department of Justice found Louis Berger guilty of paying bribes to Indian officials, including ministers, for water supply projects in Goa and Guwahati. CM Mr. Tarun Gogoi has ordered high level inquiry into the matter. If charges are proved then Himanta Biswa Sarma might have to face dire consequences. After he has joined BJP, it shall be seen with time whether the charges levied upon him are investigated without any biasness.
Many BJP workers have negative opinion about Himanta Biswa Sarma and their notion about heartily accepting Himanta Biswa Sarma in the party is doubtful. This might create a gap among the party and its workers.
BJP took a similar wrong decision before the last Delhi elections when it announced Kiran Bedi as the CM candidate and finally ended up with only 3 seats. Instead of choosing people who had been with the party for so long, BJP announced Kiran Bedi as the CM candidate seeing her popularity. However things turned sour after the election results have been declared.
BJP State President Sidharth Bhattacharjee and Himanta Biswa Sarma are said to have close ties. They belong to Brahmin community and so sentimental attachment among them cannot be denied totally. It is also noteworthy to mention that Himanta Biswa Sarma belongs to Latuma Village of Nalbari district and Sidharth Bhattacharjee belongs to Samarkuchi village of Nalbari district. Latuma and Samarkuchi are around two kilometres away from each other. Since both of them hail from a common place, there is a sentimental attachment among them.