Saturday, June 10, 2023

Congress MLA Das to vote for NDA in RS polls: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday claimed that suspended Congress MLA Sashi Kanta Das will vote for the BJP-led NDA candidates during the Rajya Sabha biennial elections in the state.
Two Rajya Sabha seats from the state are falling vacant on April 2 and the voting is scheduled to be held on March 31.
After meeting the disgruntled opposition legislator Das at his residence in Raha in Nagaon district, Sarma said: “Das had earlier announced that he would be with the government for all developmental works. Now, he has announced to vote for BJP-led NDA candidates in Rajya Sabha polls.”
The chief minister later tweeted about his meeting with Das and said that they “reviewed developmental activities in the area and discussed ways to accelerate them further”.
The legislator told reporters that he supports Sarma’s “development works” and will be with the government for the overall development of his constituency.
Das, a first time MLA from Raha constituency, on December 20 had announced that he had decided to join the government as he wanted to work for the development of his constituency, but would continue to remain in the Congress as he had not joined the BJP.
Hours after that, the state Congress had sent a show-cause notice to the MLA and subsequently suspended him from the party.
Reacting to Sarma’s statement on Rajya Sabha polls in the state, Assam Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said the party will issue a “three-line whip” to all its MLAs asking them to vote for the party’s nominee Ripun Bora.
“When we issue the whip, all MLAs will have to vote for the party’s candidate. They will also have to show their votes to the polling agent of the party. If any MLA does not obey the whip, strict disciplinary action will be initiated,” Borah told PTI.
He also criticised Sarma, for allegedly carrying out “horse-trading” of opposition MLAs to win both the seats.
The same view was echoed by Raijor Dal president and MLA Akhil Gogoi.
“This is not an unhealthy development for the Congress alone, but the entire democratic system. Such behaviour of the chief minister openly roaming around to buy MLAs is not a good sign for the state,” Gogoi said.
The BJP has nominated Pabitra Margherita as its candidate for one seat, while its coalition partner United People’s Party Liberal’s (UPPL) working president Rwngwra Narzary was named for the second seat.
The two seats are currently held by Ripun Bora and Ranee Narah of the Congress. Bora is in the fray this time as the Opposition parties’ joint candidate.
The ruling coalition stands comfortably poised to get one of its candidates easily elected, though it may fall short by a couple of votes if the Opposition votes as a bloc for its lone nominee so far.
If Das votes for the joint candidate fielded by the Opposition, it will be able to secure 44 votes, two more than the number required for the second candidate to win.
Out of seven Rajya Sabha seats from Assam, the BJP currently holds three and Congress two. The BJP ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has one member in the Upper House, while the other is held by an Independent.
The BJP’s strength in the 126-member Assam Assembly is 63, while its allies AGP has nine and UPPL has seven MLAs.
In the opposition camp, the Congress’ strength is 27, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has 15 members, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) has three, and CPI(M) has one MLA. There is one Independent MLA also.
The BPF has lent its support to the government on the Assembly floor although it has not entered into any political alliance as of now.



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