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Assam Congress seeks MLA answer after Himanta Biswa Sarma says he ‘pledged support’

The Congress issued a show-cause notice to Das late on Monday and said his "actions and statements had created misgivings in the minds of the party workers and tarnished the party's image and discipline."

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
December 21, 2021 7:31:22 am
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma with Sashi Kanta Das . (Twitter/Pijush_hazarika)

The Congress party in Assam lambasted its Raha MLA, Sashi Kanta Das, on Monday and demanded he clarifies a statement by Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma that the legislator had “pledged his commitment to politically support” the state’s BJP government.

The rebuke came after Das, a Congress “old-timer”, met Sarma and the BJP’s Assam unit president, Bhabesh Kalita, at the CM’s chamber in the Assembly complex.

After the meeting, Sarma told reporters that Das had decided to join the government but “we have not given a thought to the political aspect yet”. He added: “It doesn’t matter which party he (Das) belongs to, but since he wants to work with the Assam government, we will help him out.”

Das spoke to reporters too, but did not mention his plans clearly. He said he was “impressed” by the development initiatives of the Sarma government and had met the CM to discuss issues in Raha.

“I have known and respected Himanta Biswa Sarma for many years. I met him regarding some development issues of Raha and he was very supportive,” he said, adding he had not decided to leave the Congress yet.

The Congress, however, issued a show-cause notice to Das late on Monday and said his “actions and statements had created misgivings in the minds of the party workers and tarnished the party’s image and discipline.” Leader Of Opposition in Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, slammed Sarma, saying his statement on Das was “bad politics”. “The Opposition is a pillar of democracy…the BJP is trying to weaken our voice by doing this,” he said.

Das has been asked to clarify his stand within 24 hours.

Das won from the Raha seat in March, 2021. If he leaves the Congress, he will be the third sitting legislator to have quit the grand old party in Assam this year. Earlier, Congress lawmakers Rupjyoti Kurmi and Susanta Borgohain resigned from the party to join the BJP. They later won the by-polls on saffron tickets.

Currently, the BJP has 62 MLAs in the 126-member Assam Assembly, while its allies have 16. The Congress has 27 MLAs.

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