Shake-up cloud over BJP's Assam unit

Read more below

By Staff Reporter in Guwahati
  • Published 8.10.03

Guwahati, Oct. 8: The Assam unit of the BJP is in for a major organisational shake-up before next year’s general election.

The party’s high command has decided to clip the wings of the state organising secretary V. Satish to stop infighting within the state unit over the election of a new party president.

Satish, an influential BJP leader who is also the party’s Northeast in-charge, is expected to be removed from his additional responsibility of the state unit’s general secretary in charge of organisation. This has been touted as a bid to dismantle the power centres within the party.

A low profile RSS pracharak from Nalbari, Phani Sharma, has been tipped to replace Satish.

Several senior leaders, including president Rajen Gohain, Union minister of state Bijoya Chakravarty and former Union minister Kabindra Purkayastha have reportedly complained to the party’s eastern zone observer and a senior vice-president Pyarelal Khandelwal about Satish’s role in the election process of the new president. The president will be elected this month.

According to party sources, Satish was accused of putting a spanner in the senior leaders’ effort to evolve a consensus for the president’s post by propping up Rajya Sabha MP Indramoni Bora at the last moment.

Bora had refused to be in the race, leaving in the fray former president Narayan Borkotoki and state vice-president Romen Deka.

The sources said Bora’s name was proposed only when a consensus was evolving for the post. BJP national president M. Venkaiah Naidu had earlier directed all the state units in the region to develop a consensus for the post of a new president.

Satish has been lobbying for Bora to create an alternative power centre around him by wielding his contacts in the BJP headquarters. He was personal secretary to the former BJP president Khusabhao Thakre.

It is Satish’s closeness with Thakre that is preventing the party leaders from making an official comment about the likely change.

“We are awaiting a written communiqué from the high command. Till then, nothing can be said with certainty as he (Satish) is a protégé of a leader of Thakre’s stature,” a senior BJP leader said.

Sources in the BJP said the high command was alarmed over the growing divisions in the party, particularly after two groups resorted to fisticuffs during the election of the Guwahati district unit president recently.

A senior BJP leader said the proposed removal of Satish could be a balancing act by the high command to muffle the voice of dissent over Bora’s candidature. “Bora from the Satish camp could be made president while the post of organisation secretary will go to the other camp,” he added.

In the event of Bora becoming president and Satish continuing as organising secretary, other senior leaders will be completely marginalised and affect the party’s prospects in the general election, he said.

Party sources said there were no doubt that the ouster of Satish would considerably reduce his clout in the state unit.