Youth leader

Student leader to CCP chief Cong loses NE big face in Ripun Bora

THE ELECTORAL record of Congress under Ripun Bora as state party leader may have been mixed. However, the exit of one of its most senior leaders, for the Trinamool Congress, only portends more trouble for Congress. The immediate provocation for Bora is believed to have been the embarrassing loss for him in the recent Rajya Sabha election despite being the opposition’s ‘joint’ candidate, largely due to the inability of the leadership of Congress to decide on its alliance with the AIUDF.

Head of state for six years until 2021, Bora, 65, first came to Congress as a student leader, while at Gauhati University. He then worked as a bureaucrat in the state government for about a decade before joining politics full time.

While Bora lost his first election, in his home constituency of Gohpur, in 1996, he then won twice quite comfortably, in 2001 and 2006. He resigned as CCP chairman last year after the defeat of the Congress at the Assembly. elections, with Bora himself losing out to Gohpur.

His colleagues describe him as “hardworking” – a quality that has led the party high command to give him several key responsibilities over the years. In the Congress government led by Tarun Gogoi, Bora served as Minister of Education, Panchayat and Rural Development. In 2016, after the dramatic loss of Congress to the BJP after 15 years of state rule, Bora was given the mandate to revive the party.

In his resignation letter after the 2021 defeat, Bora blamed the “continuous internal fights” within the party.

Despite this second successive election defeat under Bora, a testament to the party’s confidence in him had been his nomination for a Rajya Sabha ticket.

With Bora now leaving for the TMC, which is trying to make inroads in Assam, state Congress leaders have accused Bora of being ‘opportunistic’ for deserting a party that had consistently ‘rewarded’ him. , and blamed his exit on the debacle of Rajya Sabha. . “He’s not used to staying out of power,” said a Congressman from Assam, adding that the party “gave him everything”.

The deputy also claimed that the loss would not hurt Congress. “We admit he works hard, but he had no appeal as a mass leader,” he said.

Others said Bora was playing his cards like a “seasoned politician”, jumping ship as Congress fortunes are the bleakest ever in Assam, even if it is for a party that is not not yet very influential in the state.

While Bora himself was unavailable for comment, Sushmita Dev, who had previously left Congress for the TMC, called his exit commentary on Congress. “It’s easy to call Ripun Bora a traitor, but you have to analyze what people think and do when they step down,” she said, adding that leaders saw “little future” in Congress. “The party should have fought tooth and nail in the recent Rajya Sabha polls, presenting a united front as Bora was the last man to stand in the North East for the Rajya Sabha party. But they lost, despite the numbers,” Dev said.