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Senior Congress leader and Assam Rajya Sabha MP, Bhubaneswar Kalita. 
Senior Congress leader and Assam Rajya Sabha MP, Bhubaneswar Kalita. |Twitter
ASSAM

Assam Congress leader Bhubaneswar Kalita resigns as Rajya Sabha MP

Parliamentarian steps down to protest against the party’s stand on Centre’s decision to revoke Article 370 and bifurcating Jammu & Kashmir into two UTs

Sandeep Borah

Sandeep Borah

Guwahati: The Congress party in Assam faced a major blow after senior leader Bhubaneswar Kalita resigned as a Rajya Sabha MP on Monday.

The 68-year-old leader took to Twitter to make the announcement on Monday.

Kalita’s resignation came close on the heels of unruly scenes witnessed in the Upper House of Parliament over the Kashmir row after Union home minister Amit Shah announced that the special status granted to Jammu & Kashmir will be revoked.

However, the senior Congress leader has not yet filed his official resignation letter to the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee headquarters in Guwahati.

Speaking with EastMojo, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee spokesperson Bobbeeta Sharma said that there has been no official letter of resignation from Kalita received by the Congress headquarters as of now.

“We have just got the news from various source, however official statement from Kalita has not been received by APCC,” Sharma added.

Talking about the chances of Kalita being inducted as a Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) candidate, the Congress spokesperson denied all speculations saying that Kalita has been associated and working heartily for the Congress party in state and country as a whole for a long time now and so it will be wrong to make any early comment.

Despite repeated attempts to contact MP Kalita, to know on what circumstances he had decided to step down from his position as a Rajya Sabha MP, he could not be reached.

The resignation of Kalita as a Parliamentary candidate has come as a massive jolt to the Opposition Congress in Assam and also in Northeast India. Kalita has been associated to and was also one of the most prominent faces of the party in the region.

Efforts to contact APCC president Ripun Bora to know the party’s stand and to find out the circumstances on which Kalita resigned from his position, also yielded no results as the leader was reportedly busy in a meeting.

On Monday, both Houses of Parliament witnessed a ruckus over the recent political crisis in Jammu & Kashmir following the home ministry’s statement on Sunday. Congress MPs Adhir Ranjan Chowdhury, K Suresh and Manish Tewari also moved adjournment motion notice in Lok Sabha on Sunday.

The entire development comes in the backdrop of the house arrest of the three Jammu & Kashmir’s most prominent politicians — Mehbooba Mufti, Omar Abdullah and Sajad Lone -- late on Sunday night amid a massive security build-up in the state. Internet services and mobile services were suspended in several places and all public gatherings were banned in Srinagar district as Section 144 was imposed from midnight.

Interestingly, another Congress Parliamentarian from Assam, Sanjay Singh, had earlier resigned from his position in Rajya Sabha as well as the party on July 30 this year and had joined the BJP the next day. Despite strong opposition by made by APCC, Singh was elected as a Rajya Sabha member from Assam in 2015.

Kalita contested the last Lok Sabha elections from Mangaldai constituency of Assam this year , but lost to Bharatiya Janata Party’s candidate Dilip Saikia. He was elected as a member of the Rajya Sabha in 2008 and was re-elected to the position from Assam in 2014.