GUWAHATI: Congress veteran and former Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had earlier made an abortive bid to unseat Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, is all set to join the BJP.
Accompanied by Assam BJP chief Siddhartha Bhattacharya, Sarma met BJP president Amit Shah at his New Delhi residence on Sunday. Later, emerging from the meeting, he told reporters that he would formally join the BJP “in a day or two”.
“We met Shah and discussed several issues such as the floods and political situation in Assam. I have expressed my willingness to work under a strong leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Shah,” Sarma told reporters.
“I have taken a decision to join the BJP and the state president will complete the formalities in a day or two,” he further said.
Sarma said he was confident that the BJP would win the 2016 Assembly polls in the state and his decision to join the saffron party would make no difference to it.
Later in a Facebook post, he said his decision to join the BJP was owing to the “massive calls from people hailing from all communities across the state and for a resurgent Assam and North East under the vibrant leadership of Modiji”.
The Pradesh Congress Committee (PCC), meanwhile, said it was yet to receive Sarma’s resignation. “We have seen it on TV. If he has already made a decision, we have nothing to say. It is his personal decision,” Pradesh Congress Committee chief Anjan Dutta said.
Asked if the development would hurt the Congress, Dutta quipped, “We are not bothered.
Ours is a very big party and no one is indispensable. We will not suffer even if a leader of Chief Minister’s stature quits. I trust the grassroots workers and they will help us win the polls.”
There are speculations doing the rounds that at least a dozen Congress MLAs, who were part of the group that raised the banner of revolt against Gogoi, could follow in the footsteps of Sarma. But, Dutta ruled out such a scenario. “No one is going. I spoke with several of them today (Sunday),” he said.
The BJP, however, welcomed the Sarma’s move to switch loyalty to the party. “He (Sarma) is a very influential politician. I got the feedback from many BJP workers and they are all happy,” BJP Guwahati MP Bijoya Chakraborty said.