The Congress in Assam has punched holes in the reasons cited by former PCC president Ripun Bora for joining the Trinamul in Calcutta on Sunday.
Bora in his two-page resignation letter to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi had cited “infighting” and the “secret understanding” of a few senior PCC leaders with the ruling BJP, “mainly” with chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, for quitting the party.
Bora had also said his “conscience” did not allow him to continue in the Congress as its interest and ideology were being compromised in favour of the BJP by a few leaders with vested interest.
Incumbent PCC president Bhupen Kumar Borah told The Telegraph amid campaigning for the April 22 Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections that it was his predecessor who was in touch with the chief minister.
He cited Sarma’s recent claim in the state Assembly that Ripun Bora used to call him several times a day, seeking help to win the Rajya Sabha seat.
A key reason for Bora’s decision to quit follows his defeat in the March 31 Rajya Sabha polls as the joint Opposition candidate.
Though Bora had the support of 43 Opposition MLAs, enough to win the second seat in a House of 126, he secured only 35 votes. Congress and the AIUDF later accused each other of cross-voting to help the BJP win both the seats.
Borah said: “I think he (Bora) has himself proved his integrity is doubtful. It was him who was in touch with the chief minister. He always used to say he would remain with the Congress till his last breath.
“His only intention is to engage himself in some suitable post.”
Responding to infighting in the PCC, which Bora said was one of the reasons for the party’s defeat in the 2021 Assembly polls, Bhupen Borah said: “He started the infighting by pushing for the Grand Alliance. Most leaders and members were against the mahajot. He had to leave because he compromised with the BJP for the Rajya Sabha seat, something that the CM’s claim in the Assembly proves,” Borah said.
In his resignation letter, Bora said people were expecting the Congress to form the government in 2021 but due to continuous infighting among a section of senior PCC leaders, “people lost faith in us and did not give us the mandate to form the government”.
The Congress could win only 29 seats, three more than in 2016, despite forming a mahajot against the ruling BJP alliance in the 2021 polls. Aligning with the AIUDF proved disastrous for the party in upper Assam, neutralising the gains it had made in lower Assam.
Borah also said the Trinamul would not gain by roping in Bora.
“Bengal politics will have no impact in Assam. A few leaders can join the Trinamul for personal gains but people of Assam understand who will fight for secularism, who will fight for democracy and who will fight the BJP. It will take some time, but we (Congress) will rise again. Senior leaders have left in the past too, but the Congress is still there discharging its role.…”
The Congress was in power for three straight terms in Assam from 2001 but has been in freefall since the BJP-led alliance under Prime Minister Narendra Modi came to power in 2014.