Guwahati: Nine Congress MLAs in Assam formally joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) on Friday in presence of several senior leaders.
The BJP has welcomed the nine ruling Congress legislators into its fold ahead of the next year's assembly election. The MLAs had held talks with senior BJP leader and Union Sports minister Sarbanand Sonowal in Guwahati yesterday, confirming their move.
"Despite the majority being against Tarun Gogoi as Chief Minister, he was elected. A meeting was held later where we were slammed for voicing our opinions against him. We wanted Himanta Biswa Sarma to be elected as CM and 54 MLAs had supported him," Congress MLA Pijush Hazarika, who will be joining BJP today, told ANI.
"We have decided to join BJP so that we can watch Assam develop under the leadership of Narendra Modi ji. We have made our decision for the sake of Assam," he added.
Among them, 4 legislators -Pradan Baruah, Jayanta Malla Baruah, Piyush Hazarika and Pallab Lochan Das were suspended from Congress for anti-party activities.
Reacting to the nine MLAs leaving his party to join the BJP, Arunachal Pradesh Congress Committee president Anjan Dutta told media that their absence would not affect Congress in the assembly elections early next year.
"It will not affect one bit and now there is no dissidence in Congress here. No body can affect the Congress. Congress will be in power for the next 100 years," he said.
Congress, which has been in power in Assam for three consecutive terms under the Chief Ministership of Tarun Gogoi, currently has 76 MLAs after the resignation of Himanta Biswa Sarma from the 126-member House on September 15 last following his joining the BJP.
The nine MLAs are yet to submit their resignation from the Assembly after joining the BJP today.
All of them are close associates of former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is now a BJP leader. The Congress will have now 68 MLAs in the 126 member assembly.