A controversial legislator who allegedly assaulted a policeman has widened the cracks in the ruling Congress with a group of dissidents threatening mass resignation if he is arrested.
The police in central Assam's Jorhat district had last week lodged an FIR against Congress legislator Rupjyoti Kurmi and his personal security officer (PSO) for assaulting a police driver on August 20. Kurmi represents Mariani constituency.
Kamal Mahan, the driver, was admitted to a hospital and received five stitches on his head. In his complaint, he said Kurmi hit him on his head with a helmet (kept in the police vehicle) after the PSO assaulted him. The MLA was allegedly furious that the police vehicle did not let his car overtake while he was on his way home to Mariani.
Jorhat SP Sanjukta Parashar subsequently said Kurmi was absconding to avoid arrest.
The case took a political turn after Assam police chief JN Choudhury said there was no evidence against Kurmi 'as of now'. A group of Congress MLAs opposed to chief minister Tarun Gogoi met AICC general secretary CP Joshi and threatened to resign if Kurmi was arrested.
"More than 30 of us will resign from the party if Kurmi is victimised," Assam Youth Congress president and MLA Pijush Hazarika said. Kurmi belongs to the dissident group that is seeking a change of guard.
On Monday, Gogoi said he had asked the police chief to submit a report. He added that he received a letter from Kurmi denying the assault.