Assam: Flagged infighting, but Congress didn’t act, says Ripun Bora


Former Assam Congress chief and Rajya Sabha ex-MP Ripun Bora, who switched to the Trinamool Congress recently, has said that he repeatedly alerted the party high command about the “corrosive effects of infighting, but no action was taken”. In an interview to Sourav Roy Barman, Bora said the TMC is starting from the scratch in Assam and the party plans to reach out to the people from all spheres of life to include their needs and aspirations in its agenda. Excerpts:

Your resignation letter suggests that Congress is a divided house in Assam. How serious was infighting in the state unit?

I do not want to name anyone. After the devastating defeat of the Congress in the Assam Assembly polls in 2016, I was made the state unit chief. Between 2016 and 2021, I toured the state extensively to bring the Congress back to power. However, some of my senior colleagues kept demanding my removal throughout up to the elections in March 2021. When they couldn't replace me, they did everything to not let me become the CM. They were in connivance with the BJP. Since I did not have access to Congress president Sonia Gandhi, I informed the then AICC in-charges for Assam that if the infighting continues, the Congress won't be able to form the government. I also told them that I was ready to vacate the post in the interest of the party.

What happened after your defeat in the Rajya Sabha polls?

One of the working presidents of the Congress party in Assam made a malicious allegation against me that I offered Rs 1.6 crore to purchase votes from the AIUDF. The allegation damaged the party's reputation but the high command did not take any action. No one helped me during the Rajya Sabha polls.

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had also claimed that the Gandhis are not approachable.

No, his point and my point are different. I am not making any allegation. In the Congress, it's a norm to first inform the AICC general secretaries. I have repeatedly said that I have no grievances against Sonia Gandhi or Rahul Gandhi. I had categorically said this even in front of TMC chief Mamata Banerjee that I may be in her party now but I will never criticise the Gandhi family.

But if the Congress is in a mess, are they (Gandhis) not responsible at some level?

I do not want to comment on that.

How do you plan to build the TMC in Assam?

The TMC will have to start from zero in Assam. We will discuss with all stakeholders, all opinion-builders, intellectuals...we will represent, reflect the needs, aspirations, grievances of all castes, communities and religions.

(With inputs from agencies)


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