Updated February 14th, 2024 at 22:35 IST

Exclusive/ Congress Today Has Been Hijacked by Anti-national Forces, Says Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma

CM Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke exclusively with Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on the BJP leader's role in “breaking the Congress” in Assam.

Reported by: Kriti Dhingra
Edited by: Digital Desk
CM Himanta Biswa Sarma spoke exclusively with Republic's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami on Sarma's role in “destroying the Congress” in Assam. | Image:Republic Digital
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New Delhi: With the Lok Sabha Elections 2024 just around the corner, Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday spoke exclusively with Republic TV's Editor-in-Chief Arnab Goswami, and the duo discussed the senior BJP leader's role in “breaking the Congress” in the northeastern state, in the run up to general elections. Asserting that Congress leader Rahul Gandhi "won't find a candidate to field from Assam”, Sarma said, “Rahul won't find a candidate to contest in Assam as the Congress party, in today's time, has been hijacked by the anti-national forces”. 

Asserting that Rahul Gandhi is “out to destroy the social and economic fabric of our society”, the BJP leader further claimed that the Congress today "has been taken over by tukde tukde gang". The Assam CM went on to emphasize, "Today's Congress is now actively involved with the anti-national forces, and he [Rahul Gandhi] is trying to encourage anarchy".

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Underlining that the Congress –  as a party –  'is not the same anymore', Sarma told Republic, "In Earlier days, the Congress was encouraged by the Gandhian ideology. But today, in every Congress yatra, you will hear all kinds of new slogans that were originally raised in the JNU... they [Congress party] have now moved away from the Gandhian principles to follow the Left-style of politics".

Exuding confidence that more Congress MLAs are in queue to Join the BJP, Sarma stated “Today, four MLAs came to my office and said we are very, very happy with PM Modi's style-of-governance, and the level of development that has taken place under his leadership”. Expressing hope that “all regional parties will understand that there's no premium in joining the Congress”, the chief minister, in strong remarks, asserted, "These [upcoming] elections should be the final nail in the coffin for the Congress party".

In Assam, the BJP has been enriched by the people joining in from different parties, he added.

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Congress MLAs Flocking To ‘Join Government’ in Assam

Congress MLAs –  Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha and Basanta Das –  have decided to “join the government”, Sarma – who heads a BJP-led government in the state – had said earlier during the day.

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Both the legislators – Purkayastha, the former working president of the opposition party and Das, a former minister in the Tarun Gogoi government – were welcomed by Sarma at the chief minister's chamber inside the Assembly complex as the Budget Session of the House was underway.

Purkayastha, who has been in the Congress-fold for several decades, was elected from the Karimganj North constituency in Karimganj district during Assembly polls in 2021. Das, on the other hand, was a former minister in Tarun Gogoi's government, who'd won the Assembly polls from the Mangaldoi seat in 2021.

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Welcoming the duo to the saffron party, Sarma had said, "Showing faith in the Narendra Modi-led central government, these Congress MLAs have decided to support the government. For all public welfare programmes and constructive works, they will support both state and central governments." 

Noteworthily, the latest shift in political alignments in Assam comes in the backdrop of two other Congress MLAs –  Sashi Kanta Das and Siddeque Ahmed –  extending their "support to the [BJP] government" in the recent past.

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The BJP's official strength in the 126-member Assam Assembly stands at 61, while its allies UPPL and AGP have  seven and  nine MLAs respectively. 

In the Opposition, however, the Congress party's strength is 27, the AIUDF has 15 members, the BPF has three while the CPIM has one MLA. Additionally, there is one Independent legislator.

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Published February 14th, 2024 at 18:44 IST