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Congress MLA ‘pledges support’ to Himanta-led BJP govt in Assam

Sashi Kanta Das, who represents Raha in Nagaon district, said he has not yet decided to resign from the Congress. Leader Of Opposition in Assam, Debabrata Saikia, has termed the development “bad politics”.

Written by Tora Agarwala | Guwahati |
Updated: December 20, 2021 7:53:46 pm
Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma with Sashi Kanta Das . (Twitter/Pijush_hazarika)

Congress MLA Sashi Kanta Das “pledged his commitment to politically support” the Assam government on Monday, Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. However, Das, who represents the Raha seat in Nagaon district, will not resign from the Congress immediately.

Das said he was “impressed” by the development initiatives of the Sarma-led government. “I have known and respected Himanta Biswa Sarma for many years. I met him regarding some developmental issues of Raha (flood, erosion, etc) and he was very supportive,” he said to reporters, adding that he has not decided to leave the Congress yet.

On Monday morning, Sarma and BJP’s Assam unit president Bhabesh Kalita “welcomed” Das at the chief minister’s chamber inside the Assembly complex, according to the news agency PTI. Sarma said he “hailed” Das’s decision.

“Das decided to join the government as he wanted to work for the development of Raha constituency. We have not given thought to the political aspect yet. It doesn’t matter which party he belongs to, but since he wants to work with the Assam government, we will help him out,” Sarma told reporters.

While Das won from the Raha seat for the first time in the Assembly elections held in March this year, he is a Congress “old-timer”. The party has issued a show cause notice to him.

Leader Of Opposition in Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, described the development as “bad politics” to “weaken democratic institutions”. “The Opposition is a pillar of democracy… the BJP is trying to weaken our voice by doing this,” he said.

If he leaves the Congress, Das would be the third sitting legislator to quit the grand old party. Earlier this year, Congress lawmakers Rupjyoti Kurmi and Susanta Borgohain resigned from the party to join the BJP. AIUDF MLA Phanidhar Talukdar followed suit. The three then won the bypolls on saffron tickets.

Currently, the BJP’s strength in the 126-member Assam Assembly is 62, while its allies UPPL and AGP have seven and nine MLAs, respectively. The Congress now has 27 legislators.

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