Film Dialogues

Barak Valley Congress: Is Dev-raj eclipsing?

SILCHAR, Aug 4: Ever since the poll debacle of Sontosh Mohan Dev, former Union Minister, in the last Parliamentary elections of 2009, questions making round in political circles of Barak Valley have been focused on ‘is his dominance in Congress on decline?’. In fact, the way Dinesh Prasad Goala, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, at the centre stage of controversy and wildest criticism for his alleged role in the voting out of Susmita Dev as Chairperson of Municipal Board, received tumultuous reception all the way from the airport to Congress Bhavan here left no one in doubt about his growing clout and influence in the party.
Inside Congress Bhavan, the scenario quite significantly changed with the entry of Goala and his cavalcades of supporters on Tuesday. It was here that NSUI, Youth Congress and the women front leaders and activists had burnt the effigies of the minister and the seven dissident Commissioners, identifying them as ‘Mirzafars’ or ‘Quislings’, denouncing them as betrayers, using all sorts of diatribes. Two senior Congress workers, Ranjit Saha, Ward Commissioner and rebel leader, and Sajal Acharjee, Town Committee President of the party, were in particular targeted and came in for virulent tirade by the furious workers for playing second fiddle to back BJP sponsored ‘no-confidence motion’ against Susmita on July 28. Bowing to their fuming and fretting, DCC president Arun Dutta Mazumder suspended the dissidents from the party.
As Dinesh Prasad Goala took hold of the proceedings with Sontosh Mohan Dev, Misbahul Islam Laskar former Minister, Karnendu Bhattacharjee, former district Congress president, Dutta Mazumder and other leaders on the dais, it became clear that he was here to convey the message that henceforth all party and policy decisions should have his seal and approval. Eyebrows might have been raised, but none dared to counter him on any count. Cry for ‘suspension’ and ‘expulsion’ was gone with the end.
Rather, Goala thundered “those who burnt my effigy and others have to be identified and punished”. The otherwise vociferous Karnendu Bhattacharjee seemed to swallow line, hook and sinker of everything the minister said. The critics had turned ‘sycophants’ as if it were. There was neither oratory nor demagoguery that rattled Congress Bhavan till the other day, questioning the role of the minister in the ‘no-trust motion’. It was perhaps time to sing paeans for him. Goala baiters were nowhere to be seen. Rebel Commissioners thought it wise to remain off the show.
The most disquieting and also dramatic, as political observers said, was the advice of Sontosh Mohan Dev to his daughter Susmita in absentia to hand over her resignation to ‘Uncle Dinesh’ and let the protagonists of conspiracy take charge of the Municipal Board. It was read as an abject helplessness of one time domineering and all conquering politician before a minister who was nurtured and trained by him to rise to the pinnacle of power. It is an indication of Dev’s declining status in the party. He could neither find a berth as Governor nor RS MP as touted in a section of media. After the equally dismal performance of his wife Bithika Dev, MLA, as Chairperson of the Municipal Board, he had pinned his aspiration on Susmita who too proved to be a disaster.
Dwarfing and downsizing all, high and low, Goala entered and come out of Congress Bhavan like an emperor ‘veni, vide, vice’ (I came, I saw, I conquered). At the end, many in the crowd were heard saying, is it the signal to the eclipsing Dev dynastic rule? (SENTINELASSAM)

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