Ward Commissioner puts Cachar Congress on boil

SILCHAR, July 31: Cachar Congress is on boil, sending waves of shock and dismay as well in APCC and State leadership. An outcry from rank and file of the party, NSUI, Youth Congress and Women’s Front is rumbling in Congress Bhavan here for the expulsion of dissident Commissioners and other ‘quislings’ accusing them of being saboteurs for the voting out of Susmita Dev.
Nobody in Barak Valley knew anything about Dilip Paul who caused the greatest upset for the Congress. A simple businessman with B Com degree began to hog the limelight in print and electronic media as a Ward Commissioner against Congress led Municipal Board and its Chairperson Susmita Dev for various flaws in its functioning and deteriorating civic services. From obscurity, he made himself a leader of the lone Opposition BJP with six other saffron Commissioners. He impressed by his performance and sincerity of purpose.
Articulate, intelligent and critical, Paul followed every move of the Board and its Chairperson, participating in all meetings and taking part in discussions and deliberations, raising objections to decisions not in the interest of citizens. Media began to focus on him and covered each of his press briefings, exposing with assortments of facts and figures various irregularities and anomalies in the management of civic funds.
Susmita who succeeded her mother Bithika Dev, MLA and was at the helm of affairs of the Board on July 31, 2009 with the support of 21 Commissioners of her party including two Independents in the 28-member civic body instead of winning the trust and confidence of citizens plagued by plethora of problems in their daily life became ‘a prisoner of unwise and unpopular decisions’. She began to rely more on ‘a coterie’ or ‘cabal’ than to take all the Commissioners into confidence in the management of the Board. In the process, she exposed herself to criticism for her incompetence and inefficiency. Her colleagues felt sidelined and ignored.
Dilip Paul who led the Opposition front made discreet move to exploit the anger and anguish of Congress Commissioners to upset the apple cart of Susmita. He did a lot of home work to publish 28 point charge sheet against the Municipal Board, highlighting corruptions and mismanagement in its 10 months tenure and made it public.
Riding high on the wave of resentment and dissension of Congress rebels, Paul moved no-confidence motion against Susmita Dev on July 21. A week later, Susmita lost the confidence motion. Nine of her own supporters openly cross voted raising storm in Congress. Dinesh Prasad Goala, Minister of Urban Development and Housing, was targeted by Sontosh Mohan Dev, former Union Minister, and Karnendu Bhattacharjee, former DCC president, as being the mastermind behind the conspiracy to oust Susmita. NSUI and Youth Congress angrily demonstrated demanding expulsion of all the betrayers. The newly inducted DCC president Arun Dutta Majumder was hit hard for his lack of diplomacy and tact to keep the Congress Commissioners together.
Goala added fuel to the fire when his ministry by an order directed that Binay Krishna Das, a rebel Commissioner who presided over the proceedings of no trust vote should head the interim Board. A helpless Congress Bhavan has to swallow the greatest ever disgrace. Most hurt was the heavyweight politician Sontosh Mohan Dev. The ramification for the party could not be overlooked as the Assembly elections of 2011 are not very far. Will the Congress remain divided? Coming days will tell the story. For now at the centre stage of all attention is Dilip Paul. (SENTINELASSAM)

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