Monday December 10, 2018
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Ex-Assam CM set to resign assembly seat

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

Himanta-Biswa-Sharma-Resign

New Delhi: Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had recently quit Congress to join BJP announced on Saturday that he will soon be resigning from his state assembly seat.

“I will resign from my seat in the assembly in a day or two after returning to Assam,” Sarma told the media here after leading a group of 10 MLAs, including nine from the state’s ruling Congress, to meet Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) president Amit Shah at his residence.

Sarma held the state’s health and education portfolios and quit his ministerial post in July last year after a major fallout with Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. Sarma was once seen as Gogoi’s blue-eyed boy.

Stating that the fall of the Gogoi-led Congress government was certain in next year’s assembly elections in the state, Sarma said: “We don’t want to defeat Gogoi by playing the game of numbers. Not MLAs but the people of Assam will bring about the downfall of the Gogoi government.”

He also referred to Gogoi’s remarks on Friday that it was difficult for the state government to fight the ongoing wave of devastating floods in Assam alone due to lack of funds.

“Since he is citing lack of funds as the reason for failing to fight the flood situation, then let there be a government that can have funds,” the former minister said.

Regarding Saturday’s meeting with Shah, Sarma said that since the BJP president expressed his desire to meet the 10 MLAs, he them brought along.

The 10 MLAs were:  Jayantamalla Barua, Pijush Hazarika, Pallablochan Das, Bolin Chetia, Kripanath Malla, Binanda Saikia, Pradan Barua, Rajen Borthakur, Abu Taher Bepari (all from the Congress), and Dwipen Pathak (from the Trinamool Congress).

Sarma also claimed that in the days to come, as many as 500 NSUI, Youth Congress and district-level Congress workers would soon join the BJP.

“They will be joining batch by batch. We have to take into consideration the sentiments of the long-serving BJP workers and ensure that they do not get hurt,” he said.

Sarma was elected in 2011 to the state assembly from the prestigious Jalukbari seat by a record margin of nearly 78,000 votes.

Speaking to the media after the meeting with Shah, Jayantamalla Barua said that he and the accompanying MLAs would be joining the BJP soon.

“We will soon join the BJP officially at a suitable time. We will ensure that the party’s Mission 84 (winning 84 of the state’s 126 assembly seats) is successful,” he said.

(With inputs from IANS)

 

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Tea Body of Assam Slam ‘Chaiwala’ Modi

The tea labourers of Assam live in the most deplorable conditions without some of the basic amenities, Gowala said

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Assam tea body slam 'chaiwala' Modi,

The largest tea body of Assam on Sunday slammed Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who often refer to himself as a “chaiwala”, for not being considerate towards the state’s tea garden workers’ plight and urged him to implement the promised minimum wage of Rs 350 before the new year starts.

The Assam Chah Mazdoor Sangha (ACMS) General Secretary Rupesh Gowala said while Modi often refers to himself as a “chaiwala”, he is yet make good on his promises towards a million tea garden labourers in the state in the last four years.

“Before the Lok Sabha elections of 2014, Modi addressed several rallies in Assam and assured that the tea garden labourers would be paid a minimum wage of Rs 350 per day,” Gowala said.

“If this happens, the 10,00,000 tea garden labourers will lose Rs 30 each day for two months. Is it a “chaiwala” Prime Minister who is doing this to his own community?” said Gowala.

The tea garden workers in Brahmaputra Valley in Assam are presently drawing Rs 167 per day while the tea garden workers in Barak Valley are getting Rs 145 per day.

“The existing wage agreement between the Assam government and the ACMS and other tea workers bodies expired on December 31, 2017.

Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi (Wikimedia Commons)

“The government had announced an interim hike of Rs 30 per day. The tea garden labourers are supposed to get this interim hike from January 1, 2018, but the government is saying the hike will apply from March 1, 2018.

“This would make them lose Rs 30 per day for two months,” he said.

The Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam is yet to fix that minimum wage, Gowala said, urging Modi to announce the promised Rs 350 per day minimum wage before 2019.

Gowala said the condition of all those tea gardens run by the Assam government was far worse.

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“While the labourers in company-owned garden are receiving a wage of Rs. 167 per day now, the 26,000 workers under the 14 gardens of state-owned Assam Tea Company Limited (ATCL) are receiving a wage of Rs 115 only per day,” he said.

Assam has over 800 medium and large size tea gardens that produces over 50 per cent of the country’s total tea produce.

The tea labourers of Assam live in the most deplorable conditions without some of the basic amenities, Gowala said. (IANS)