Rebel Assam Congress leader set to join BJP  

Guwahati, Aug 28 (IANS) Amid speculation that many Congress legislators may shift allegiance, at least 15 of them reached the airport near here on Friday to welcome former Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who is set to join the BJP.

Sarma arrived here from New Delhi and headed to the BJP headquarters in Guwahati amid a rally of his supporters from different parts of the state. Some BJP leaders were also on the scene.

Sarma had on August 23 met Bharatiya Janata Party president Amit Shah in New Delhi and expressed his willingness to join the BJP. He is likely to do that on Friday.

At least 15 Congress legislators, who were part of the dissident group of Assam Congress led by Sarma, were at the airport to welcome him.

“I am still a Congress legislator. However, I have worked with Sarma for a long time. I am here to wish him best of luck,” said Nalbari legislator Jayanta Malla Baruah.

Asked if he too will join the BJP, he said: “It all depends on the circumstance. As of now I am a Congress legislator but I have trust in the leadership of Sarma.

“And I have a desire to work with Sarma for the betterment and progress of Assam.”

Added Binanda Saikia, another Congress legislator: “I have not decided to join the BJP yet but we have worked very closely with Sarma, particularly in the last two years.”

Sarma, who had the portfolios of health and education in Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s cabinet during the three consecutive terms of Congress, had led the dissidence in the party in 2011.

Sarma resigned from the Gogoi cabinet last year.

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