Many Congress leaders may join ruling BJP and other parties like TMC and AAP.

 

New Delhi: The Congress in Assam is facing existential crisis and is likely to witness many of its leaders leaving the party to join ruling BJP and other emerging parties like TMC and AAP in the state, as they are unhappy with the current state of affairs in the state unit and see no future in the grand old party.
The leaders who are likely to leave the party are Congress MP Pradyut Bordoloi and former state minister Bismita Roy. Bismita Roy may join BJP and Pradyut Bordot is reportedly in talks with AAP, TMC and the BJP. A few days back, Ripun Bora, the former state president of the Congress, left the organisation which experts believe have set a bad precedent for the party. In 2019, Bhubaneshwar Kalita, a four-time Rajya Sabha MP, had also stunned the grand old party by resigning and joining the BJP. Both the leaders had enjoyed priveleged treatment from the Congress.
Party leaders indicated to The Sunday Guardian that there are various factions emerging in the party in the face of Rakibul Hussain, a strong leader who was a minister in Tarun Gogoi’s government till 2016, and is presently contending against the state president Bhupen Bora in the party. According to sources, he may also leave the party after the GMC (Guwahati Municipal Corporation) elections, while as the other factions in the Congress are led by the leader of the opposition Debabrata Saika and deputy leader in the Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi.
Amidst it all, party leaders say that all the Congress functionaries already know the people will vote en masse for the ruling BJP in the Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections. “Assam Congress is at its lowest ebb and the party functionaries are extremely demotivated,” a Congress MLA said. Multiple sources in the party agreed that the party may not be able to win more than 12 wards in the 60 ward corporation.
The reason for the party’s steep downfall, the leaders believe, is the Muslim vote bank it enjoyed before also slipping away and be absorbed by the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). With party’s multiple weaknesses, such as a weak organisational network, weak prospects and lack of explicit concern from Congress’ central leadership, many party members are calculating political rehabilitation. Bhupen Bora, Assam Congress state president, told The Sunday Guardian, “We lost very badly in 2021 in all the four Assembly constituencies which fall under GMC. Moreover, we have also lost consecutively the last four elections: two Lok Sabha and two Assembly. But one thing I can assure this time, the situation of Congress will improve, the vote count will improve.”
Bora further added, “In the last Lok Sabha elections, in both east and west Guwahati constituencies, we lost by three lakh votes, in Assembly elections also, the margin was the same. This time, the margin will be reduced. Another predicament is that presently, the anti-BJP votes are more divided. The situation here was so bad as all the four MLAs in Guwahati are not from Congress. We had thought that we will not get candidates willing to contest, but people came forward, campaigned and contested.”
Akhil Ranjhan Dutta, Political science professor in Gauhati University, said, “Look at the campaign profile of the BJP, the Congress is nowhere. They have people, they have resources, they have the organisation and they have the money; compared to that Congress has nothing, these are the factors why I see no prospects for the Congress.”
Dutta further added, “In this scenario, the Aam Aadmi party is aggressively consolidating itself in the municipal elections, it is more like becoming a BJP versus AAP contest, Congress is not even trying to contest now, they have reclined back, because people have seen what happened to Congress in Delhi and what happened to it in Punjab. They know the AAP has done incredible for the people in Delhi in terms of water and power.”