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PM against Bengal syndicates, but kingpins running BJP show in Assam: party MLA denied ticket

Former Assembly Deputy Speaker Dilip Paul said long-time party loyalists were being side-lined by “imported” leaders

Former Assam Assembly Deputy Speaker Dilip Paul, who ended his 37-year-old association with the BJP after being denied a ticket from the Silchar constituency, said while Prime Minister Narendra Modi has waged a war against illegal syndicates in West Bengal, kingpins of such collectives had been running the show in Assam.

The two-time MLA said he had tremendous respect for Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, but “it is painful to see his hapless status” in the party because of “imported leaders” who had their “hands dipped in corruption”.

Much of his ire was directed at Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. A majority of the candidates fielded by the BJP are said to be his loyalists. Among them is Dipayan Chakraborty, who has replaced Mr. Paul.

“The Prime Minister has called for uprooting the syndicates in West Bengal. He probably does not know that the BJP in Assam is being run or has preferred to field people involved running coal, betelnut, stone and cattle syndicates. Some are even into drugs and arms smuggling,” Mr. Paul said after resigning from the BJP on March 10.

He also blamed the BJP for ignoring long-time loyalists like Kabindra Purkayastha, who moulded the party in Assam, to create space for “outsiders”.

Mr. Paul has decided to contest the Silchar seat as an independent, as has the firebrand Shiladitya Dev who was denied a ticket from the Hojai Assembly seat. Both were associated with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh in the past.

“I have been politically murdered for aggressively pursuing the Hindutva agenda assigned by the party,” Mr. Dev said.

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