AGP loses ex-Speaker

Erosion in the AGP ranks continued after its senior leader and former Assembly Speaker Pulakesh Barua joined the BJP today.

By Pankaj Sarma
  • Published 30.04.15
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Pulakesh Barua (left) after joining the BJP on Wednesday. Telegraph picture

Guwahati, April 29: Erosion in the AGP ranks continued after its senior leader and former Assembly Speaker Pulakesh Barua joined the BJP today.

Barua, who was AGP vice-president, formally joined the BJP in the presence of Assam unit president Siddhartha Bhattacharjya, state vice-president C.K. Das and other leaders, at a function organised in the state BJP headquarters here this afternoon.

Barua, a founder member of the AGP, was a two-time MLA from Barkhetri constituency and served as Speaker from January 9, 1986 to July 27, 1991.

He had resigned from the primary membership of the AGP and all party posts, including the posts of vice-president and central executive member, yesterday.

Before Barua, former AGP MLA from Titabor, Hemanta Kalita, along with 1,500 members and supporters, had joined the BJP in Jorhat on April 19.

Some of the prominent AGP leaders to join the BJP recently are former AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary, senior AGP leaders and former ministers Hitendra Nath Goswami and Atul Bora (senior).

After today's ceremony, Barua told reporters that people want a political change in Assam and at present, the BJP was the only viable alternative to the Congress, which was immersed in corruption.

"Moreover, after the Lok Sabha polls, my supporters were putting pressure on me to quit the AGP," he said, adding that he will work towards strengthening the BJP.

Barua said he was disillusioned with the AGP since the party had failed to protect the interests of the state.

"Though the BJP is a national party, I feel it would be able to solve the problems plaguing the state and bring it back on the path of development as it had done in Gujarat," he said.

The former Speaker had quit the AGP twice in the past but rejoined.

After coming of the AGP, he had formed the Natun Asom Gana Parishad (NAGP) in 1991 along with late Dinesh Goswami and late Bhrigu Kumar Phukan but merged the party with the AGP in 1994.

Barua again quit the AGP in 2002 and rejoined the party in 2008. He lost the last Assembly election as an AGP candidate from Barkhetri constituency.

Asked whether he will seek a BJP ticket to contest next year's Assembly polls, Barua said, "It will depend on the decision of the BJP leadership."

The AGP, however, said Barua's decision was primarily motivated by self-interest.

Reacting to Barua joining the BJP, AGP general secretary Ramendra Narayan Kalita said he had joined the BJP keeping his personal interests in mind and it has noting to do with ideological issues.