Major setback for Congress in Assam as two MLAs extend support to Himanta government

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma says more Congress leaders are to follow suit.

GUWAHATI: In a setback to Congress ahead of Lok Sabha elections, two MLAs of the party in Assam decided to extend their support to the BJP governments in the state and at the centre.

Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma paraded the duo – Congress working president Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha and Basanta Das – on Wednesday as he addressed the media in Guwahati to break the news.

“Respecting the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi ji, Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha and Basanta Das have decided to support the constructive work of Assam and central governments. Two other Congress legislators – Sashikanta Das and Siddeque Ahmed – have been supporting us relentlessly from before,” Sarma told journalists.

“The decision of Purkayastha and Das will strengthen our government. Purkayastha has resigned as Congress working president. I respect the decision of both MLAs. In the coming days, we all MLAs and ministers will strive to ensure special development of (Purkayastha’s) Karimganj North and (Das’) Mangaldoi constituencies,” Sarma further said.

Criticising Congress for allegedly not allowing its MLAs to attend government meetings and programmes, and meet ministers, he asked how their constituencies will develop if they cannot highlight the problems.

“No opposition party had such a stance earlier. Several Congress MLAs are not happy with this. In the last three to four days, six to seven MLAs met me on this issue,” the CM said.

Stating that the decision of Purkayastha and Das to support the government will create a positive atmosphere in the Assembly, he said, “This is a new trend. If every state copies it, it will be good because Modi ji is not a one-party leader but the leader of the country.”

He claimed several other MLAs and Congress party leaders were willing to follow suit and he would parade them ‘when things mature’. He also said that whether or not Purkayastha and Das would join BJP could be known ahead of state elections in 2026.

“Assam will become one state where all MLAs will support state and central governments. People are very happy with the kind of work the PM is doing in Assam. The state government is trying to complement it. It’s a double engine government,” Sarma said.

“As far as the mind and the heart are concerned, there is no opposition in Assam. It is because of certain compulsions that they are in the opposition. Now, people are coming closer to us by breaking the compulsions,” he said, adding that not just these MLAs, but all those in the state Congress headquarters ‘Rajiv Bhaban’ are with BJP.

The CM claimed that no MLAs are now with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi. He also said that Gandhi was not undertaking ‘Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra’ but ‘Bharat Todo Anyay Yatra’.

“These (Congress) MLAs are now with me. This is a gift for Rahul ji,” the CM said.

In a similar development in neighbouring Meghalaya, some suspended Congress MLAs had extended their support to the National People’s Party-led government in 2022, and then joined the party ahead of polls.

Sarma predicted BJP would win 11 of Assam’s 14 Lok Sabha seats by huge margins of votes. “If you convert it to Assembly segments, we will win from 100 of the state’s 126 Assembly seats,” he said.

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The New Indian Express