Prominent Assam Cong MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi joins BJP

In an important political development, four-time MLA and prominent Assam tea garden leader Rupjyoti Kurmi, who quit the Congress on Friday, joined the ruling BJP on Monday in presence of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.

Sarma later in a tweet said: “We welcome Sri Rupjyoti Kurmi to the BJP family. A prominent leader from Tea – Tribe Community & 4-term MLA, he has always been working for uplift of poor & development of the region. BJP shall immensely gain from his experience. Best wishes.”

At an impressive ceremony held at Gerukamukh in Dhemaji district in eastern Assam, welcoming the former Congress leader to the BJP, the chief minister said that Kurmi’s joining the BJP would further strengthen the party’s base among the tea garden workers and other sectors. Several prominent BJP leaders and ministers including Education Minister Ranoj Pegu, Tea Tribes Welfare Minister Sanjay Kishan were also present during the programme.

Criticising the Congress, Kurmi 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 on Friday had tendered his resignation to both Assam Assembly Speaker Biswajit Daimary and interim Congress President Sonia Gandhi.

The Assam Congress on Friday expelled the four-time MLA from the party for his “anti-party activities”.

Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president and Rajya Sabha member Ripun Bora termed the political development as “unfortunate”.

Congress legislative party leader Debabrata Saikia, who is also the opposition leader of the state, 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 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.