LESS THAN six months after the BJP came to power in Assam, it has come up against its first rebellion with a former party MLA quitting the party to contest as an independent in the byelection to Lakhimpur, the Lok Sabha seat vacated by Sarbananda Sonowal, now chief minister. The bypoll is slated for November 19.
The rebel, Dilip Moran, was the BJP MLA from Doomdooma in 2011-15, elected at a time when BJP was yet to build the network it has in Assam today. Moran, however, lost the poll in 2016. He has vented his anger against the leadership for ignoring senior members who had shaped the party for decades. “Old-timers are no longer important or recognised. The party and the government in Assam are now run by only one person. There is Hitler raj in the Assam BJP now,” said Moran, who filed his nomination papers for Lakhimpur Tuesday.
Lakhimpur was with the Congress in 2009 before Sonowal wrested it from then Union minister Ranee Narah in 2014. Sonowal was subsequently elected MLA from Majuli this year and vacated Lakhimpur. The BJP has now nominated Pradan Barua, a former Congress legislator who had joined the BJP along with Himanta Biswa Sarma in 2015. Barua was elected from Dhemaji constituency as a BJP candidate in 2016. Back in 1996, Barua had been elected as MLA from Jonai on an AGP ticket.
Moran felt the BJP should have fielded him. “I was the lone MLA from among all the 11 assembly segments that make up Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency. Moreover, I have been in the party since 1993. Yet when it came to selecting a candidate for the byelection, the party chose a person who had recently come from Congress,” Moran said. The BJP has refrained from commenting on Moran’s allegations. “Yes, he has sent us his resignation from the party,” BJP said.