Shiladitya Dev, a disgruntled BJP MLA from Assam, who had quit the party after he was denied a ticket for the upcoming Assembly polls, has returned to the party to prevent splitting of votes.
Earlier, Dev had declared that he will fight as an independent, but was convinced by Assam minister and BJP’s face in the state, Himanta Biswa Sarma and BJP National General Secretary Dilip Saikia to stay back as an “important member” of the party.
“I cannot allow Congress to win because this will lead to the dominance of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) chief Badruddin Ajmal, since both the parties are in alliance. So I decided to stay with my party,” Dev said.
“Dev will campaign for the party across the state in Hojai and Lumding,” said Sarma.
Dev is very close to Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS). Despite this, BJP ignored Dev and gave the ticket this time to Ramakrishna Ghosh in the Hindu Bengali-dominated Hojai constituency.
Dev, however, is not alone in the list of sitting MLAs denied a ticket this time. Eleven more MLAs were made to sit back. All the 12 aspirants who got the ticket this time are first-time contestants.
Under Himanta Biswa Sarma, the BJP is now trying to pacify all the unhappy ticket seekers. Dilip Saikia said, “Dev will be suitably accommodated in the party and in the new government.”
BJP is now trying to woo Dilip Paul, another sitting BJP MLA who has decided to fight as an independent from the Hindu-dominated Silchar constituency.
The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) are BJP’s allies in the upcoming polls. Himanta Biswa Sarma has been BJP’s principle fire fighter for long. This time he also helped douse fire within the AGP, which had to face rebellion from sitting MLA in Tezpur, Brindaban Goswami, who was denied a ticket this time in favour of Prithibiraj Rabha, the son of cultural icon Bishnu Prasad Rabha. Goswami withdrew his nomination after a meeting with Himanta Biswa Sarma.
The assembly elections in Assam will be held on March 27 and the results will be declared on May 2.