Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday described former state minister Himanta Biswa Sarma's decision to join the BJP as his "personal decision for personal benefit".
Asked for his reaction to Sarma's announcement in New Delhi today that he had expressed his desire to join the BJP after meeting BJP president Amit Shah, Gogoi said, "It is his personal decision for his personal benefit."
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Anjan Dutta said that he was yet to receive any communication from Sarma regarding his leaving the Congress in favour of the BJP and hence cannot comment.
"He has not resigned from the Congress so far. I have not received any letter in this regard," Dutta told reporters here.
"It is only in the electronic media that I have seen that he has met BJP President Amit Shah in Delhi and expressed his desire to join their party. I cannot comment on this until I receive the resignation letter from him," he said.
Asked if Sarma's departure from the party would affect Congress' prospects in the 2016 Assam legislative polls, Dutta said, "No one is indispensable and the party will not be affected if any person leaves. If I or even the Chief Minister leaves it is not going to affect the party. The party is much bigger and stronger than any individual."
He further said that Sarma had campaigned with him on August 16 and addressed three election meetings in Morigaon for the Tiwa Autonomous Council polls which the Congress won.
"It was only yesterday that I talked to him about the party's forthcoming programmes, including a road blockade tomorrow, and he promised to be there but he did not say anything about leaving the party and joining the BJP," the APCC president said.
Meanwhile, Congress MP from Kaliabor Gaurav Gogoi, who is the chief minister's son, said Sarma's joining the BJP was a "personal decision" and he respects it.
He, however, said that he had failed to understand why the former minister had to "join a losing party by leaving a winning party".