Barak Valley politics Goala and Roy desperate to dwarf Dev?

SILCHAR, Aug 30: After the induction of Sujan Dutta as the chairman of the Silchar Development Authority, political circles and conscious citizens are abuzz with the question: What does this move signify? Dutta is a close aide of Minister of Border Area Development and Excise Gautom Roy.
For long, charismatic political leader and former Union Minister of Heavy Industries and Public Enterprises, Sontosh Mohan Dev, wielding tremendous influence in the power corridors at Delhi and Dispur, has his diktat in deciding the appointment of heads of various public bodies, boards and committees. Since the inception of Silchar Development Authority (SDA) in 1984, Dev loyalists have been holding the chairman post. In fact, the last man to go after completing his five year term, Partha Ranjan Chakraborty, is a trusted lieutenant of Dev.
Silchar district Congress Committee has been totally in dark about the induction of Sujan Dutta as the Chairman of SDA, ignoring the claims of State Congress Committee general secretary Arun Dutta Mazumdar, State Congress Committee secretary Pradip Dutta Roy, Trade Union leader Kishore Bhattacharjee and Town Congress Committee president Sajal Acharjee. A Congress leader said, “This has dealt a severe blow to the party organization which will only add to dissension and resentment in the rank and file.”
Although the development in the Silchar Development Authority has come as a surprise to many, according to sources, it has been coordinated by Minister of Urban Development Dinesh Prasad Goala and Minister of Border Area Development and Excise Gautom Roy, known for their close proximity to Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Sources said, Goala took charge to hasten official formalities at Dispur for ensuring the appointment of Sujan Dutta without consulting or informing Dev. MLA and wife of Sontosh Mohan Dev Bithika Dev, expressed her anguish over the appointment. She said, “I have not been consulted in the matter of appointment though I am the MLA of this town.”
According to political analysts, it has been a pre-planned and premeditated plan of action by the anti-Dev clan to clip him down and dwarf him as he has been the disputed leader of the valley since he became an MP in 1980. There has been no looking back for him till he faced the greatest debacle of his chequered political career in the last Lok Sabha elections. The entry of AUDF supremo Badaruddin Azmal in the poll fray for Silchar seat that polarized votes on communal lines brought down Dev to the third position and ensured victory of Kabindra Purkayastha of BJP. Both Goala and Roy have gone on records from time to time at press meets and public forums for their diatribes and tirades against Sontosh Mohan Dev for his “style of functioning”. Before the last Lok Sabha polls, Goala had challenged the leadership of Dev and reiterated his resolve to contest from Silchar. Roy often said, “Congress is not any body’s fiefdom”. The message was clear. State Congress Committee secretary Pradip Dutta Roy admitted, “Coming days will see fast changing political equation and balance of power in Barak Valley. A new centre of power is emerging.”
Significantly, both Goala and Roy who started their political careers in 1980 by winning from Lakhipur and Katlicherra constituency respectively have maintained the “no-defeat record” that enabled them to become cabinet ministers holding different portfolios under former CM late Hiteswar Saikia and present CM of Asom Tarun Gogoi. Besides being a trade union leader and president of Cachar Cha Sramik Union, Goala has emerged as a strong political leader. Roy has stamped his dominance in Hailakandi and Karimganj districts and is extending his sway in Cachar as well. Karimganj MP Lalit Mohan Shuklabaidya is also a trusted man of Gautom Roy.
It is to be seen if the anti-Dev lobby succeeds in blocking the appointment of Sontosh Mohan Dev’s daughter Susmita Dev as the chairperson of the Silchar Municipal Board. (Source - Sentinel Assam)

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