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Assam Congress MLA may join BJP soon, claims Himanta

BJP in Assam has claimed that a Congress MLA may join the party soon and that a couple of others are also in talks with it.

, ET Bureau|
Last Updated: Mar 13, 2020, 01.29 PM IST
GUWAHATI: As the Rajya Sabha polls near, the BJP in Assam has claimed that a Congress MLA may join the party soon and that a couple of others are also in talks with it.

“In the next few days, an important MLA of the Congress will join the BJP,” Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said. “Some others may also join, a few others are also in touch. These desertions have nothing to do with the Rajya Sabha polls,” he said.

The Congress has 23 MLAs in the legislative Assembly.

Responding to former chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s allegation that the BJP will indulge in horse trading as it does not have the required numbers to win all the three Rajya Sabha seats in the state going to polls on March 26, Sarma replied, “In the past, when Gogoi was the chief minister, the Congress had contested Rajya Sabha seats despite not having the required numbers. Does it mean the Congress was engaged in the buying of MLAs?”

The BJP has said Bhubaneswar Kalita will be its candidate for the Rajya Sabha elections. Its ally Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) has fielded Biswajit Daimary for the second seat.

The Congress and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) have announced that journalist and anti-CAA activist Ajit Bhuyan will be their common candidate for the third. The BJP has said it may also contest the third seat.

Meanwhile, senior journalist Atanu Bhuyan has also procured nomination papers for the elections.

Sarma, who is also the education minister, said the Assam government has decided to close down madrassas and Sanskrit Tols under various state boards by August 15. He said these institutions will be upgraded to high schools.

“Why must one learn Arabic language in a madrassa and the state government bear the cost? The government cannot fund religious education. Even in Sanskrit Tols, Gita, Vedas and Upanishad are not taught. Rather, they have become a way to secure matriculation (class 10) certificate,” he said.

“The teachers will continue to get their salary and a VRS scheme will be worked out. However, private madrassas and Sanskrit tols can run, but they will be registered.”

Around 1,200 madrassas and 200 sanskrit tols such are functional in Assam.
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