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Six Cong leaders quit in a fortnight

Nagaon, March 25: The Congress is facing a crisis in Karbi Anglong district with six party heavyweights quitting the party to join the BJP in the last fortnight.

These party leaders, including former chief executive member of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, Jayram Engleng, are known to be opposed to Congress candidate for the Diphu Lok Sabha seat, Biren Singh Engti, who kickstarted his campaign in Karbi Anglong today.

Engti, accompanied by more than 1,000 party workers, submitted his nomination at 11.30am today.

At the same time, former Baithalangso legislator and health minister in the 2001 cabinet Rupam Singh Ranghang, two former council chairmen, Bajong Tisso and Bhaskar Handique, and two former executive members, Singh Teron and Bhupen Hasnu, joined the BJP at its district unit office today.

Jayram Engleng was the first from the Congress to exit the party in the district, where the Congress has maintained its stronghold since 2001. Engleng joined the BJP 10 days ago. The party later declared him its candidate from Diphu.

“Misrule and largescale corruption during the Congress tenure have forced us to leave the party. We plan to work for the development of the hill districts,” Rupam Singh Ranghang today said after joining the BJP.

“Within the next few days, we will hopefully get some elected members with us,” said a BJP source.

The source, however, refused to say whether these members would be from the Congress or the Opposition Hills State Democratic Party.

Post-Telangana riots in Karbi Anglong led to a split in the Congress, which subsequently led to Engleng stepping down from the post of chief executive member.

Biren Singh Engti then paved the way for Tuliram Ranghang who took charge of the council as CEM.

“Biren Singh feared that a statehood issue movement could destroy his image before the election. When Engleng and his council leadership advocated the statehood demand and moved New Delhi with a prayer for consideration of hemprek kanthim (self-rule homeland), Engti planned to keep Engleng aside,” said a source close to Engleng.

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