Prominent Assam Cong MLA Kurmi quits party, set to join BJP

Guwahati, Jun 18, 2021, IANS

The Congress in Assam suffered a blow on Friday as its prominent MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi quit the party and announced to join the ruling BJP coming Monday.

The Congress in turn immediately expelled the four-time MLA from the party for his "anti-party activities".

Criticising the party, Kurmi, a tea community leader, alleged that the Congress has stopped listening to the younger leaders, and envisaged further downfall of the party if Rahul Gandhi continues to call the shots.

"Rahul ji can't bring about change as he is responsible for the downfall of the Congress. The results of the recent state elections are a clear sign that the Congress will keep suffering if it gives importance to Rahul Gandhi. The party will keep losing its relevance," he told the media.

Kurmi said that he has tendered his resignation to both Assam Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary and interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The leading tribal leader stepped down days after former Union minister Jitin Prasada, one of the party's prominent faces in Uttar Pradesh, quit the Congress and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party.

After expelling Kurmi from the party, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President and Rajya Sabha member Ripun Bora termed the development as "unfortunate".

Congress legislative party leader Debabrata Saikia said that Kurmi was a loyal party worker and had some issues regarding certain decisions of the party.

However, it was not correct on Kurmi's part to leave the party in this manner, Saikia added.

Kurmi, 43, is the son of late Congress minister Rupam Kurmi. He has been elected from the Mariani constituency in eastern Assam for four times since 2006.

The Congress, which governed Assam for 15 years (2001 to 2016), failed to win the Assembly polls held in March-April, managing 29 seats, three more than its 2016 tally, when the party had lost Assam to the BJP.

Besides state Congress chief Bora, several Congress leaders lost in the recent elections to the 126-member state Assembly.