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GUWAHATI: The Congress in Assam plunged into a deep crisis after nine of its MLAs have been cleared by the BJP national leadership for joining the party. Assam BJP president Siddhartha Bhattacharya announced here on Thursday that the nine Congress MLAs will join BJP on Friday.
These rebel Congress members have been carrying on with dissident activities under the leadership of former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had joined the saffron party earlier.
Four of these MLAs have already been suspended by the Congress for showing their support to Sarma when he joined BJP. The other five have not been suspended but issued show-cause notices for their anti-party activities when the joined BJP supporters in welcoming Sarma at the airport.
Assam Congress to expel 9 MLAs for 'anti-party' activities
These nine Congress MLAs had met BJP national president Amit Shah in New Delhi on September 5 after which they announced their decision to quit Congress.
The nine Congress MLAs are Bolin Chetia (Sadiya), Pradan Barua (Jonai), Pallab Lochan Das (Behali), Rajen Borthakur (Tezpur), Pijush Hazarika (Roha), Kripanath Mallah (Ratabari), Abu Taher Bepari (Golakganj), Binanda Saikia (Sipajhar) and Jayanta Mallah Barua (Nalbari).
Assam BJP spokesman Rupam Goswami said, "Nine Congress MLAs are joining our party tomorrow and we welcome anyone how wants to join our party. The popularity of BJP in Assam is increasing at a fast pace and the popular belief here is that BJP will win the 2016 assembly election. This belief has led several leaders of various political parties to join BJP."
With these nine MLAs following Sarma, the Congress strength in the assembly stands reduced to 69, which is still more than half way mark of 63 in the house of 126 members.
State Congress general secretary (administration) Diganta Choudhury said, "This was expected long back. This is a stale news for the people of Assam." AICC general secretary and in-charge of the state CP Joshi had earlier described the deserters as "ambitious" people.