At a time when political strategist Prashant Kishor is courting the Congress, Ripun Bora, who recently quit the Congress to join the Trinamool Congress (TMC) in Assam, said at a press conference in Delhi that Mr. Kishor had called to congratulate him on his move.
Mr. Bora, who was addressing his first press conference after joining the TMC, was associated with the Congress for the last 40 years. He unsuccessfully contested on Congress ticket for a Rajya Sabha seat from the State, where despite having the requisite number, the party could not get him elected because of cross-voting.
Answering a question on who all called him to congratulate him on joining the TMC, Mr. Bora said, “Many of my friends and well-wishers called. Even Prashant Kishor spoke to me and congratulated me for making the move.”
Mr. Kishor’s overtures to the Congress has caused uneasiness in the TMC, for which he worked for the Assembly elections in West Bengal and Goa. Other than Goa, the TMC and the Congress are vying for similar space in Tripura, Assam and Meghalaya.
Speaking to reporters at the press conference, TMC spokesperson and Tripura in charge, Sushmita Dev said the TMC had a number of strategists who were working for the party and Mr. Kishor was one of them. “To comment on one of our strategists won’t be fair,” she stated.
‘Infighting in Congress’
Mr. Bora, on joining the TMC this Sunday in the presence of West Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee in Kolkata, had blamed the infighting in the Congress as the reason behind his exit. He repeated the same accusation in Delhi. “Instead of fighting the BJP, the Congress rank and file are fighting among themselves leaving a freeway for the BJP to drive on,” he stated. “I am convinced that the TMC alone can fight the BJP. If I had continued to stay with the Congress I would not be able to anything. My energy and calibre would be wasted,” he added. He, however, clarified that he had no differences with the Congress leadership- either party president Sonia Gandhi or former president Rahul Gandhi.
Ms. Dev, taking a more serious view of Mr. Bora’s recent defeat in the Rajya Sabha polls, questioned the Congress’s commitment towards the northeast. “Mr. Bora’s seat was the last one that the Congress had from the northeast in the Rajya Sabha. They had the numbers. But did they fight it the way they should have? This is a reason enough for anyone to quit,” she said.