Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Top Assam BJP leader quits citing "undemocratic" and "arrogant" style of Narendra Modi, Amit Shah

Bora
By Our Representative
In a clear indication that rebellion against Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s choice of Amit Shah as BJP president is being questioned following the party’s defeat in Delhi, a well-known party face in Assam Prodyut Bora has resigned from the national executive and the primary membership of the BJP, saying, the North-East is “on the periphery” in the mind of the leadership. Addressed to Shah, Bora’s four-page letter said, after 10 dismal years under Congress, people really bought into the idea of “acche din” but after nine months, one wonders “if acche din are really around the corner, especially in Assam.”
Sharply attacking Amit Shah for not even knowing what his team thinks of him, Bora says, “Your highly individualized, centralized style of decision making has ensured that many party office bearers feel highly disempowered. Moreover, in any organization, the style of the leader is quickly copied by those below him/her. What I am seeing in the party at least in my state is the flowering of junior Amit Shahs, with tenth of your capability and ten times your arrogance.”
Accusing Modi of directly damaging the “democratic tradition” in India, Bora said, “Today the Foreign Minister barely knows that the Foreign Secretary is about to get fired; Cabinet Ministers cannot even appoint their own OSDs (Officers on Special Duty), and power is increasingly being centralised in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).”
He said, “This makes me wonder: Does the Cabinet System still exist in this country? I am mortified to see that no Cabinet Minister, no national office bearer, no member of Parliament has demonstrated the courage to question Modi on the subversion of this fine democratic tradition.”
Bora found “regrettable” that Congress politicians like Himanta Biswa Sarma have more influence over the affairs of Assam BJP than any of us ever had.” Giving Sarma’s background, Baru says, he was a student leader of the All Assam Students Union (AASU), and during this time, he also became a money-collector for the outlawed ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom). Caught by the police while on an extortion drive, he was rescued by Congress Chief Minister Shri Hiteswar Saikia who made him join his party.”
Pointing out towards how BJP MPs from Assam have been behaving like “fifth column” of the Congress, Bora said, “Many MPs and MLAs in Assam are remote controlled by the Congress.” Thus, MPs Rajen Gohain and Bijoya Chakraborty have been elected several times but in their constituency no MLA ever gets elected. He asks, “Isn’t this pattern too much of a coincidence?”
Coming to the “unremarkable” choice of Siddhartha Bhattacharya as the state BJP president, Baru characterized him as“arrogant, ill-tempered and coarse-mouthed office-bearer” in Assam BJP’s history. “I urge you to have one-to-one sittings with each BJP Assam office bearer, and take your feedback on Bhattacharya’s public pronouncements and behaviour. Talk to the civil society and intelligentsia, and see what they have to say about Assam BJP under his leadership”, he said.
Coming to other leaders, Baru said, two of the vice presidents of BJP Kisan Morcha in Assam were once dreaded ULFA militants. “The first is Kushal Duari (alias Jayanta Hazarika). Ask anybody in Sibsagar district about his reign of terror after surrendering from the ULFA and you would hear several ghastly tales. This Kushal Duari is profiled in the book ‘Secret Killings of Assam’ by Mrinal Talukdar, Utpal Borpujari and Kaushik Deka. Another isDhekial Phukan, popularly known as Dheki. He was named in the murder case of popular journalist Parag Das.”
On the policy front, Bora said, despite promise, nothing has been done to back off Bangladeshis or illegal migrants. Then, in December 2014, the Commerce Ministry directed the scrapping of the North East Industrial and Investment Policy (NEIPP) 2007, without putting an alternate policy in its place. “According to the industry body FINER (Federation of Industry Commerce of North Eastern Region), almost Rs 30,000 crore of prospective investment in the North East has been lost as a result of this move”, Bora said.

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