Assam Youth Congress president Pijush Hazarika is at the centre of a controversy over allegations that he had fudged his date of birth in order to contest the organisational elections earlier this year.
Hazarika, a sitting legislator from Raha assembly constituency in Assam, is alleged to have modified his date of birth by over five months — from January 31, 1977, to June 17, 1977 — to fulfill the age guidelines set by Congress general secretary Rahul Gandhi to stand for the Youth Congress elections.
According to the requirements, a candidate should be less than 35 years of age to contest the Youth Congress elections. In 2012, the cut-off date for contesting the polls was fixed at February 9, 1977.
Hazarika subsequently got elected as the president of the state Youth Congress for the second consecutive term in February this year.
The anomalies regarding his age came to light when school authorities wrote to the secondary education board of Assam (SEBA), pointing out the alleged fudging.
In the 1993 high school leaving certificate (HSLC) examination admit card and his passport issued in 2009, the copies of which are with HT, Hazarika’s date of birth is mentioned as January 31, 1977.
According to SEBA norms, one can apply for correction of age and name within three years from the date of commencement of the examinations.
However, Hazarika allegedly changed his date of birth to June 17, 1977, in August 2011 — 18 years after he appeared for the HSLC exam, and within days of the launch of the Youth Congress membership drive in the state.
The matter has now reached Gandhi’s court with several Youth Congress leaders demanding strong action against Hazarika for giving the opposition a handle to attack the Congress over the age controversy.