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After Tamil Nadu, seat-sharing woes for Congress in Assam

There were tense scenes and slogan-shouting by a section of the party workers at the Congress office, in the presence of party chief Ripun Bora and Mahila Congress national president Sushmita Dev, in Guwahati on Saturday.

Written by Manoj C G | New Delhi |
March 7, 2021 2:54:38 am
Sushmita Dev

AT A time when the Congress is locked in a bitter tussle with the DMK over seat-sharing in Tamil Nadu, there is tension in the party in Assam over allocation of seats to partner AIUDF.

There were tense scenes and slogan-shouting by a section of the party workers at the Congress office, in the presence of party chief Ripun Bora and Mahila Congress national president Sushmita Dev, in Guwahati on Saturday. Sources said Dev is upset over the allocation of some seats to the AIUDF in her stronghold of Barak Valley.

Of the 15 Assembly seats in Barak Valley, comprising the Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi districts, the Congress had won three last time while the AIUDF had won four. All the three seats in Hailakandi district were won by AIUDF and the party is claiming these as part of the seat-sharing deal.

Sources said the Congress leadership has agreed to give all the three seats to the AIUDF. This has angered Congress workers in the district.

Last time, the Congress had come fourth in one seat, third in another and finished second in one. “If all the seats in a district are given to some other party, the Congress organisation there will die,” a leader said.

Sources said Dev’s supporters reached the Congress office and protested against giving all the three seats in the district to the AIUDF. Many of the leaders threatened they would resign from the party.

The situation turned tense when Dev arrived for a scheduled meeting, sources said. She asked her supporters to leave, but left with them after an animated conversation with the PCC president, leading to speculation that she was considering leaving the party, sources said.

When contacted, Dev told The Sunday Express, “I never threatened to resign. It is not true. Some of my supporters were threatening to resign…I was standing there.”

The Assam Congress issued a statement. “Speculative news about resignation of President, All India Mahila Congress Sushmita Dev, is doing the rounds on television and web portals. We want to make it clear that Ms Sushmita Dev has not resigned,” said Bobbeeta Sharma, the head of the Assam Congress media department.

The development comes amid reports that the grand alliance in Assam has finalised the seat-sharing arrangement. While there was no official confirmation, sources said the Congress has agreed to give 21 seats to the AIUDF.

The Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) and the CPM will contest in two seats each and the CPI and CPI (ML) will contest in one each. One leader said talks are still on specific seats. “They are asking for some critical seats which are very difficult for the Congress to give up,” a senior leader.

The AIUDF had won 13 out of the 74 seats it had contested last time garnering a vote share of 13.05 per cent.

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