Assam Congress ex-chief Ripun Bora switches over to TMC

Updated on Apr 18, 2022 01:23 AM IST

In a major setback to the opposition Congress in Assam, senior leader and former state unit chief Ripun Bora quit the party and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata on Sunday.

Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee congratulates former Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora as he joins the party, in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI)
Trinamool Congress national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee congratulates former Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora as he joins the party, in Kolkata on Sunday. (ANI)
By, Guwahati

In a major setback to the opposition Congress in Assam, senior leader and former state unit chief Ripun Bora quit the party and joined the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Kolkata on Sunday.

A former minister in the Assam cabinet, Bora joined the TMC in the presence of party’s national general secretary Abhishek Banerjee. He had unsuccessfully contested last month’s Rajya Sabha elections. Bora’s wife and former Congress MLA, Monika, and son Siddharth were also present at the event.

“From today I have started my new political journey!” the former Assam minister tweeted, while sharing a copy of a letter addressed to Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on his resignation from the Congress.

Welcoming the Assam leader, Banerjee tweeted: “Extending a very warm welcome to Ripun Bora, a stalwart and skilled politician, who joined the TMC family today. We are extremely pleased to have you on board and look forward to working together for the well-being of our people.”

In his resignation letter, Bora, who has been associated with the Congress since 1976, pointed out the infighting within the party which, he claimed, had “demoralised” party workers and paved the way for Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) to grow.

“During the past couple of years, the way the BJP, the symbol of communal and divisive forces, is growing across the country and is a serious threat to democracy, constitution, secularism and the economy of our country. But instead of fighting unitedly and aggressively to prevent the BJP at this critical juncture...leaders of grand old Congress party at different levels are fighting each other for their vested interest,” Bora’s two-page resignation letter said.

On the state of affairs in the state, Bora claimed there was “continuous inner fight by a section of senior most leaders of Assam”, which prevented the party from getting the peoples’ mandate in the 2021 assembly elections.

Bora was the president of the state Congress during last year’s polls wherein the party had tied up with nine other parties in a bid to wrest power from the BJP. The Congress, however, managed to win just 29 of 126 seats, leading to BJP and its allies forming the government for another term.

Bora also alleged that some state Congress leaders “have been maintaining secret understanding with the BJP government, mainly with the chief minister (Himanta Biswa Sarma).” “Under this backdrop, my conscience doesn’t allow me to continue in the Congress party where the party’s interest and ideology are being compromised in favour of BJP for some vested interest of few leaders,” he said.

The state Congress dismissed his claims.

“Bora’s resignation is unprecedented and unfortunate. This has done damage to the party, but we will regroup and recover. Bora’s allegations that some Congress leaders in Assam are having secret understanding with BJP and the chief minister are baseless,” Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah said:

“Instead, people in Assam know how chief minister Sarma recently mentioned that Bora is in regular touch with him and had called him four times ahead of the Rajya Sabha polls. Bora used to say that he will be a Congress worker till death, but today’s move showed that his integrity is doubtful and he is an opportunist,” he added.

“I don’t want to comment on internal issues of the Congress, but it is true that in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, it was cross voting by some Congress MLAs, which led to Ripun Bora’s defeat,” Sarma said.

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  • ABOUT THE AUTHOR

    Utpal is a Senior Assistant Editor based in Guwahati. He covers seven states of North-East India and heads the editorial team for the region. He was previously based in Kathmandu, Dehradun and Delhi with Hindustan Times.

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