Assam Congress

Silchar: Several Assam Congress members from the Karimganj South assembly constituency have quit the party to protest against legislator Siddeque Ahmed’s suspension.

Four-time MLA Siddeque, who courted controversy following his suspension from the Congress for violating party discipline, organised a meeting at his house in Baraigram in Karimganj district (under Karimganj South assembly constituency) on Sunday evening. 

Several Congress members, including members of Block Congress, Mandal Congress, Yuva Congress and Mahila Congress of at least 22 village panchayats snapped ties with the party at Siddeque’s behest.

They are expected to submit their resignations at the district Congress office on Monday.

During the meeting, Siddeque said the Congress is “infected with viruses” and that the party has lost its past prestige and grandeur. This has happened only because of incompetent leadership, he added.

He alleged that “he was suspended by the Congress unfairly and a conspiracy was hatched to remove him from the party.” He vowed to work actively to exterminate the Congress’ existence in the Karimganj district in the future.

Launching a scathing attack at Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhupen Bora and Karimganj North Congress MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha, Siddeque said “Bhupen and Kamalakhya got him removed from the party in a well-planned way for their vested interests.”

The MLA, who said he would not join any political party for now, heaped praises on chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma saying, “Himanta Biswa brought remarkable progress and prosperity in Assam after becoming the CM.” He added that he would work with Himanta wholeheartedly for his constituency’s development.

The other Congressmen (who decided to quit the party) pledged to support Siddeque and destroy the Congress in the Karimganj district.

Hailakandi district’s North Narainpur gram panchayat president Hifjur Rahman was present at the meet. He said he and several Congress members resigned from the party “to protest against the party’s decision of suspending Siddeque. They (he and the other Congress members who have resigned) will be with Siddeque and join the party the MLA joins,” he added.

A section of people aware of political developments in Karimganj claimed Siddeque might try joining the BJP considering the BJP’s clout/position at present, both in the state and central politics. Siddeque’s act of singing praises of CM Himanta Biswa(during the meeting at his residence on Sunday evening) was perhaps an indication of his interest in association with the saffron party, the people claimed.

However, the BJP MLA from Karimganj district’s Patharkandi assembly constituency Krishnendu Paul told EastMojo on Monday that the BJP would “never ever” induct someone like Siddeque into the party. “Political leaders like Siddeque have no place in the BJP. The people of Barak Valley know all about him, what he has done as an MLA and as a minister in the past (when Congress was in power in Assam). There is no chance of him getting included in the BJP,” Krishnendu said.

Another section of people believes Siddeque might shake hands with the Trinamool Congress (TMC). He could team up with TMC leader and Rajya Sabha MP from West Bengal Sushmita Dev to strengthen the TMC’s base in Barak Valley and shape their political future ahead. 

On being contacted and asked for a reaction, Dev told EastMojo that she had not spoken to Siddeque since his suspension, and thus, she could not comment anything on that.

Notably, the Congress party in Barak Valley has witnessed substantial turmoil in the past few days following a chain of events, including Siddeque’s suspension and a brawl between Congress members in Silchar over issues related to MLA Kamalakhya Dey Purkayastha.

On March 31, Siddeque was suspended by the Congress for violating party discipline. On April 4, two groups of Congressmen (pro-Kamalakhya and anti-Kamalakhya groups) engaged in a scuffle at the Cachar Congress’ Town Committee’s meeting at Indira Bhavan in Silchar after slogans of “Kamalakhya’s Dadagiri, Dalali Murdabad” were raised during the meet. 

Kamalakhya’s effigy was also burnt during the melee. APCC general secretary Apurba Bhattacharjee, former minister Ajit Singh and party members Babul Hore and Tamal Kanti Banik were also present. 

The Karimganj district Congress office (Indira Bhavan) also witnessed chaotic scenes last week when two office bearers were involved in a verbal duel and later brawled over an issue.

MLA Kamalakhya was not available for his comments.

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