Barak Valley leader quits Congress in Assam, says ‘no direction’, high command unaware

Barak Valley leader quits Congress in Assam, says ‘no direction’, high command unaware

A DAY after Assam Congress general secretary Kamrul Islam Choudhury resigned from his post and the primary membership of the party citing “instability” in the organisation and “directionless” leadership, he said he was ready to join any party which provides him opportunity to work for the people.

“I’ve been in politics for 16 years. I’ve always stayed amidst the people. Since we are in politics, we have political ambitions. But I felt that I couldn’t fulfill people’s expectations and would not be able to represent people while being with the Assam Congress,” the 36-year-old Barak Valley leader told The Indian Express on Monday.

Refusing to talk about the Congress high command, Choudhury said the Assam unit was reeling under “indiscipline and infighting”, which had contributed to the weakening of the party.

Choudhury is long-time Congress leader who once served as national secretary of the party’s student wing, NSUI, president of the Assam Pradesh Youth Congress and general secretary of the party’s state committee.

His resignation comes at a critical time for the Congress, days after the high-profile exit of former party veteran Ghulam Nabi Azad and ahead of elections to party chief.

The three districts of Bengali-speaking Barak Valley in south Assam have roughly an equal number of Hindus and Muslims. The latter traditionally backed the Congress — before the AIUDF gained popularity a little over a decade back. There has been discontent in the Congress over its tie-up with the AIUDF in the 2021 Assembly polls, which many fear alienated Hindu voters from it.

Senior leader Sushmita Deb had quit the Congress for the TMC a few months after the elections — allegedly unhappy over seat-sharing in Barak.

“There is miscommunication with leaders sitting in Delhi about things going on here, or there is negligence or ignorance,” Choudhury said, repeating the line of other dissident Congress leaders that before Bharat Jodo Andolan (the yatra undertaken by Rahul Gandhi), the Congress should work on Pradesh Congress jodo.

Choudhury claimed that many Congress workers who were with him in the NSUI were still with him, and he would consult them before taking any call regarding joining any party.

In a letter to Congress supremo Sonia Gandhi, Choudhury Sunday wrote, “… the present instability of Congress party in Assam due to the directionless and confused leadership… has left no reason for me to continue as a member of the INC.”

Choudhury specifically raised the cross-voting by Congress MLAs in the presidential elections, saying that while most senior Congress leaders of Assam, including PCC chief Bhupen Bora, publicly accepted this, no action had been taken against the legislators concerned.

This has “demoralised thousands of grassroot workers like me who have given blood and sweat for the party for years”, he said in the letter.