The Congress expelled one of its most influential MLAs in Assam for alleged anti-party activities, hours before Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to Guwahati on Friday night.
Assam’s Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the Congress could have taken action against Ajanta Neog, a former minister, on the basis of rumours. But he said the Bharatiya Janata Party would welcome her if she decided to join.
Ranjan Bora, general secretary (organisation) of the Assam State Congress Committee, said the party’s central leadership approved Ms. Neog’s expulsion.
The development followed speculations that she and at least two other Congress MLAs — Roselina Tirkey and the expelled Rajdeep Goala, both from the ‘tea tribes’ community — were set to join the BJP in the presence of Mr. Shah.
“Ajanta Neog met the Chief Minister [Sarbananda Sonowal] recently with a request to establish the Birangana Sati Sadhini State University in Golaghat. But this triggered speculation that she was joining the BJP. We have had no political discussions with her even as I talk to you,” Mr. Sarma told journalists on Friday.
But he added: “After her expulsion, I cannot say what development will take place. She is one of the tallest leaders. If she desires to join the BJP, the BJP will welcome her.”
Mr. Sarma also said Mr. Goala and Gana Shakti Party MLA Bhuban Pegu were likely to meet Mr. Shah on Saturday.
Aid to namghars
During his stay in Assam, the Union Home Minister will inaugurate various projects from Amingaon in North Guwahati. He will also take part in the distribution of ₹155 crore as aid to 8,000 namghars (Vaishnavite prayer houses) under the Assam Darshan programme.
Mr. Shah will leave for Manipur on December 27 where he will lay the foundation stone for some projects.