New Delhi: Ahead of the forthcoming Parliamentary elections in the state, the Assam unit of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has witnessed some major developments.
Sitting BJP MP from Tezpur RP Sharma reportedly resigned from the party on Saturday apparently over the non-inclusion of his name in the probable list of party candidates for the ensuing polls. On the other hand, Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sharma, who is likely to field his candidature in place of RP Sharma from Tezpur, has been reportedly asked by the party national president Amit Shah not to contest this election and concentrate on strengthening the party’s base in the Northeast.
Meanwhile, Nagaon MP, former Assam BJP president and Union minister of state for railways, Rajen Gohain, has decided not to contest the forthcoming election. However, Rita Nath Gohain, wife of the BJP leader, has expressed her desire to contest the election on a BJP ticket from Nagaon.
Addressing media persons in his official residence in New Delhi, RP Sharma expressed dissatisfaction for not including his name in the list of candidates for the Tezpur Lok Sabha seat. “I am the sitting MP. But my name is not there in the list of probable candidates. We were among the founding members of the party in Assam. I felt insulted,” he said.
When asked about his plans for the forthcoming Parliamentary elections, the senior BJP leader said that he would be joining a national-level political party soon and campaign for candidates of that party. He, however, refused to comment on a question whether he will contest this election or not. “I have sufficient time in this regard,” he said, adding: “My severe criticism against the investigation process of the Assam Public Service Commission scam may be one of the reasons of leaving me aside despite being a sitting MP.”
An advocate by profession, Sharma was associated with the BJP for the past 25 years and with the RSS for 19 years. Informing that he is getting the fruit of his opposition to the inclusion of then Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma into the BJP fold way back in 2015, the BJP veteran further added that more senior leaders like him will be sidelined in the party with the passing of time.
“In 2015, when Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the party, then only I realised that the senior leaders of the party won’t be respected by the so-called new leadership of the party. Right now, I am the third senior-most member of Assam BJP,” he said.
He further said that his decision will definitely make an adverse impact on the poll prospect of the BJP not only in Tezpur constituency but also in the entire Northeast. “Over 26 lakh Gorkha people residing in Assam are dissatisfied the way the party has behaved with me. They will definite react while exercising their franchise,” he said.
Expressing serious concern over the failure of state chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to raise his voice for Sharma while preparing the list of probable candidates, the senior BJP leader said that it was Sharma who advocated hard in New Delhi for making Sonowal president of state unit of the party. “You won’t imagine how much I tried to make him party president. Only senior-level leaders of the party are aware of that. But in my case, it’s really unfortunate that Sonowal didn’t even uttered a single word for me,” he regretted.
Meanwhile, Gohain has announced that he won’t be contesting this election citing the reason that he has a police case is pending against him. However, Rita Nath Gohain, wife of the BJP leader, has expressed her desire to contest the election in BJP ticket from Nagaon.
In August 2018, a case was filed under the sections 417 (punishment for cheating), 376 (rape) and 506 (criminal intimidation) of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) against the minister at the Nagaon Sadar police station for allegedly raping and threatening a 24-year-old married woman in Deurigaon area of Nagaon district.