Assam: Is the NC Hills Autonomous Council all set to be 'Cong-free'?

SILCHAR: The North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) in Assam’s Dima Hasao district is reportedly set to become “Congress-free” with its sole elected member from the grand old party, Daniel Langthasa, likely to join the BJP soon.

Sources in the BJP’s Dima Hasao district unit said Daniel’s joining the BJP is “just a matter of time”. Necessary formalities have almost been completed and the official announcement will be made soon, the BJP sources claimed.

Daniel, if everything goes suitably, will submit his resignation from the Congress within the next few days. The matter (of Daniel joining the BJP) picked up steam recently after the BJP’s state leadership and the BJP’s Dima Hasao district leadership gave an affirmative response, sources said.

Daniel, who represents Haflong constituency and had announced on social media in March last year that he would quit the Congress but did not go ahead with the decision later, is likely to join the BJP ‘soon’ during an event, which is already being planned at the Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bhawan (BJP office) in Haflong.

NCHAC’s chief executive member Debolal Gorlosa and many other BJP leaders are expected to be present at the programme, the sources said.

A section of people aware of political developments in Dima Hasao are speculating that Daniel likely took the decision to join the BJP with the aim of development for his constituency. His political future in association with the Congress is “losing its ground” not just in Assam but across the country, the people said.

On Wednesday, Daniel Langthasa told EastMojo that discussions about him joining the saffron party have been initiated, but nothing has been finalised yet.

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“The matter is in a discussion-level phase as of now. Nothing more than that has happened so far. Rest everything is speculation and rumours,” Daniel said.

On the other hand, Donpainon Thaosen, the BJP president of Dima Hasao district, rubbished all speculations surrounding Daniel joining the saffron party.

“Nothing like that is happening. This is a rumour,” Thaosen told EastMojo.

Another source in the BJP said discussions and gossip around Daniel joining the BJP started soon after the NCHAC’s election in 2019, but the topic somehow lost attention with time and the pandemic. For the past three to four weeks, it has been a “hot topic” again in political circles of the hill district, the BJP source said.

Notably, the NCHAC’s last election in 2019 saw the BJP winning 19 out of 28 seats in the district, while independent candidates emerged victorious in six seats. The Congress bagged two seats, while the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) got one seat. Later, the six elected independent candidates and the lone AGP candidate joined the BJP after the election results.

One of the elected Congress candidates, Joysing Duroung (of Garampani constituency), also joined the saffron brigade last year, leaving Daniel as the only face from the Congress in the NCHAC. 

In Assam, the Congress has suffered a number of major setbacks over the last two years with a few top leaders snapping ties from the party and jumping ship to other parties. The latest political leader in this category is former Congress Rajya Sabha MP and former Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Ripun Bora, who resigned from the Congress recently and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC).

In August last year, former Congress MP and the former president of All India Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev, who is the daughter of Congress stalwart Santosh Mohan Dev, resigned from the Congress and joined the TMC. At present, she is an MP in Rajya Sabha from West Bengal.

Two-time MLA Sushanta Borgohain quit the Congress in August last year and joined the BJP. Four-time MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi ended ties with the grand old party and got associated with the saffron brigade in June last year.

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