Besides being a leader from the politically dominant Tai-Ahom community, Borgohain was one of the selected picks of the party to spearhead its student and youth wing activities when the Congress was going strong at the Centre and the state. Politically groomed in Delhi, he was the treasurer and the vice-president of the NSUI central committee and later became the All India Youth Congress general secretary.
Even as the Congress is planning to take on the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls with an increased opposition strength in the state assembly, the party is finding it inexplicable how close confidants of the party are deserting the Congress in this hour of crisis. Party insiders feel that the exodus of heavyweights was set in motion with Ajanta Neog joining the BJP, who is now the finance minister in the Himanta Biswa Sarma government, just before the last assembly polls. Top leaders are foxed as to what is making local to state level leaders quit the party.
“I met Sushanta in Delhi a few days ago when rumours of his resignation were rife. He had no issues with our party but was thankful to the Congress for giving him a platform to come up as a leader. It looks like a power game and he is shifting to the party in power,” AICC general secretary and Assam Congress in-charge, Jitendra Singh, told TOI on Saturday.
Congress on Saturday accepted the resignation of Borgohain from the primary membership of the party. The exit of two MLAs from Congress in less than two months has come as a double blow for the main opposition party in Assam. Tea tribes and Tai-Ahoms are deciding factors in the politically important upper Assam region, which sends about 42 MLAs to the state assembly. Nevertheless, Singh feels that communities choose parties, not individuals.
“Communities will only back the party which delivers. The Congress won’t suffer because of the exit of individuals,” said Singh, one of the mentors of Borgohain during his NSUI and Youth Congress days.
Borgohain has finally opened up his plans to join the saffron party, saying that he wants to make his Thawra seat one one of the more advanced constituencies in upper Assam. A detailed plan for the development agenda is yet to be chalked out but he said giving jobs and work to youths is going to be his priority. “Through employment generation, we will develop our areas. I am willing to join the BJP,” Borgohain told the media.
The Assam PCC has written to the chief whip, Wazed Ali Choudhury, to disqualify Borgohain as an MLA. Congress legislature party leader Debabrata Saikia has shot off a letter to the Speaker of Assam assembly, Biswajit Daimary, to take necessary action as per the 10th Schedule of the Constitution and disqualify Borgohain as he had voluntarily given up the membership of the Congress party. The tally of the Congress went up by three from 26 in the 2016 election to 29 seats in the 2021 polls. But again, the numbers will decline to 27 with the ouster of Borgohain from the Congress.
Sources in the Congress said Rupjyoti and Borgohain were in support of incumbent chief minister Sarma, when the latter’s rivalry with the then chief minister Tarun Gogoi had reached its peak in 2015. “There were many leaders in the Congress who did not join BJP with Sarma, despite being his followers. Those who cannot continue to struggle from the opposition bench for long will definitely join the ruling party,” a senior Congress leader said.