Sushmita sore over leaving Barak valley minority-dominated seats to AIUDF
GUWAHATI, March 6: Principal opposition Congress today declared its first list of candidates for 40 seats.
Among those given tickets are State Congress president Ripun Bora from Gohpur, CLP Leader Debabrata Saikia from Nazira and senior leader Rakibul Hussain from Samuguri.
The list of candidates was released late this evening.
Earlier in the day, the decision to leave a number of minority dominated constituencies to the AIUDF as well as differences over selection of party candidates for the Assembly polls led to major dissension and conflict within the Congress party today.
All India Mahila Congress (AIMC) president Sushmita Dev walked out of a meeting of the Congress screening committee held at a city hotel this morning after reportedly getting miffed over the decision of the party to leave a substantial number of seats in the Barak valley to its alliance partner AIUDF.
This led to various speculations, including reports in sections of the electronic media, that Dev has quit the Congress and is planning to join the BJP. Dev also reportedly left for New Delhi to meet party president Sonia Gandhi and air her grievances.
However, the party soon issued a statement denying that Dev has resigned from the Congress. Party leaders also stated that she has not gone to Delhi.
Sources said that Dev is against the party’s decision to allot a number of minority-dominated constituencies in the Barak valley, including Sonai, Karimganj South, Badarpur, Algapur, Katlichera and Hailakandi to the AIUDF.
Sources added that there is intense tussle between two factions of the Congress party over distribution of tickets to party aspirants. One faction is headed by State Congress president Ripun Bora and the other is led by deputy leader of the Congress in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi.
Sources said while the Batadroba seat was supposed to have gone to grand alliance constituent Anchalik Gana Marcha, Gogoi has opposed the idea.
Dev was apparently miffed at what she saw as Gogoi was trying to dominate the ticket allocation process, besides the handing over of the Barak valley seats to the AIUDF.
Former minister Siddique Ahmed, a former MLA from Karimganj South, has also opposed the party’s decision to part with a majority of the minority-dominated seats of the Barak valley to the AIUDF.
Noisy scenes were witnessed outside the hotel where the Congress screening committee met as disgruntled party workers raised slogans against likely denial of tickets to their local leaders.
Many Congress workers from Hailakandi district protested inside the hotel’s compound against the party’s decision to leave all three seats of the district to the AIUDF.
Senior Congress leader and former minister Sarat Borkataky also left the screening committee meeting midway expressing his dissatisfaction over the candidate selection process. He was reportedly upset that his son is unlikely to get ticket from Sonari.
“Of course I am upset. I was MLA for 25 years and a minister for eight years. We have made lot of sacrifices for the party. I am not a contender. I wanted ticket for my son who has been working for the party since 1991. He is fit and has a chance of winning. He should be considered. Had Tarun Gogoi been alive today I would have got justice,” Borkataky said.
Speaking to reporters later in the evening, Gaurav Gogoi denied reports of conflict within the Congress party.