Former Assam Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma joining the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will have no impact on the Congress, says Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
"It is his personal decision and it is not going to affect the Congress. It is true that he was once my blue-eyed boy due to his efficiency and competence. I gave him a free hand even when it meant ignoring some senior leaders. I helped him like anything," The Assam Tribune quoted Gogoi as saying.
"In the past also, many Congressmen had quit the party owing to various reasons, but none joined a communal party. Secularism and being pro-poor has been the hallmark of the Congress, whereas, BJP is communal and pro-corporate," said Gogoi.
Himanta Biswa Sarma had a meeting with BJP president, Amit Shah on Sunday at New Delhi, following which he said he will be joining the BJP shortly.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was one of the most influential state ministers in the Congress party, was having a rift with Tarun Gogoi and the high command ever since he was denied the post of CM. He resigned from the Congress in July last year.
He criticised Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi for not practising internal democracy.
"Rahul Gandhi talks of internal democracy. Madam Sonia Gandhi sent an observer and 52 MLAs supported me. Mr Tarun Gogoi had the backing of only 11 or 12 MLAs. But Rahul Gandhi told me that it's his prerogative to make the chief minister," NDTV quoted Himanta Biswa Sarma as saying after his meeting with Amit Shah.