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Cong to take ‘action’ on pre-poll fracas

Congress supporters clash in Tezpur on Wednesday. File picture

Guwahati, Jan. 3: The ruling Congress today initiated steps to calm frayed tempers over preparations for the three-phase panchayat poll in the state, with Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita attributing the “temporary turmoil” to “decentralisation” of the process to select party candidates.

Reacting to yesterday’s developments at a hotel in Tezpur where senior party leader Hiranya Bora was allegedly assaulted by his rivals who, in turn, accused him and NSUI president Partha Pratim Bora of fomenting trouble, Kalita said he would initiate action based on reports submitted by PCC observers Aminul Islam and Jitu Kissan. Both Islam and Kissan were present at the meeting to finalise candidates.

He also said he would resolve the Hajo block Congress committee impasse by meeting the warring senior leaders Haren Das and Kirip Chaliha “anytime and anywhere”. While Das wants the committee to continue, Chaliha wants it dissolved.

Sources said Kamrup district Congress committee president H. Kalita, on the “advice” of the PCC president, today issued an order keeping his December 31 decision to look after the Hajo block in abeyance till an “acceptable” solution was hammered out at a joint meeting involving himself, Das, Chaliha, Bhubaneswar Kalita and PCC vice-president Y.L. Karna.

Kalita, however, asserted that the developments in Tezpur and Hajo were aberrations.

“These incidents have happened because we have decentralised the selection process where districts and block leaders are playing a key role. Even then we will take action according to party rules based on reports of our district committees and observers,” he said. Kalita also reached out to mediapersons, condemning Monday’s incident at Rajiv Bhawan in which Chaliha and his son Arkashis allegedly misbehaved with TV reporters, a group of whom met Kalita this afternoon seeking action against the duo.

“I will take up the matter with the chief minister and initiate appropriate action. What has happened is not good. Rajiv Bhawan is a public place where anybody can come and go. We have tried our best to maintain a peaceful atmosphere and we certainly want a friendly and working relationship with the media,” the PCC president said.

Despite attempts by the state Congress to normalise the situation, president of Sootea block Congress, Pranjit Bhuyan, accused of assaulting Hiranya Bora, today called a press conference in Tezpur to dismiss the charges and counter-attacked both Hiranya and NSUI president Partha Pratim Bora. He has also decided to file a defamation suit against Hiranya and launch a public protest against the duo in Sootea tomorrow and move the PCC and AICC leadership for action.

Those privy to the “unsavoury” developments in Tezpur said the NSUI president may land in serious trouble as most senior leaders were unhappy with his “arrogant and ungentlemanly” behaviour. They said things came to such a pass that Tezpur MLA Rajen Borthakur, unable to put up with his conduct, had to warn Bora to mend his ways or face the consequences.

Sources said Bora has already been ticked off by none other than chief minister Tarun Gogoi for publicly criticising power minister Pradyut Bordoloi in April last year.

Though the NSUI president was unavailable for comment, sources close to him maintained that he was not present during the scuffle between Bhuyan and Bora. “But he did enter the meeting of the senior leaders and wanted it stopped because of the assault on Hiranya Bora,” a source said.