The mudslinging between the Opposition parties continues a week after the Rajya Sabha elections in Assam, with Congress Leader Debabrata Saikia filing a court notice to AIUDF legislator Karim Uddin Barbhuiya for reportedly accusing a number of Congress MLAs of cross-voting in the elections.
On March 31, Assam conducted elections for two Rajya Sabha seats, with the BJP and its ally, the UPPL, winning both.
Despite not having the numbers for the second seat, the BJP-led alliance won, indicating that at least seven Opposition MLAs broke ranks to vote for the BJP.
Since then, a verbal battle has arisen between the Congress leader and the AIUDF, which ran a joint candidate.
Notice Send by Congress leader to AIUDF
In the notice to Barbhuiya, Congress leader Saikia’s lawyer Sarfraz Nawaz said that the latter had claimed in a news conference last week that “7-8 MLAs of the Congress had voted for the BJP.”
Moreover, Barbhuiya represents Sonai’s seat in the Cachar district in Barak Valley.
“You further alleged that a game was played by the Congress party in cohorts with Sri Akhil Gogoi under the leadership of Sri Sathe and Sri Bhupen Bora,” the notice continued. While Bora is the president of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee, Prithviraj Sathe, the secretary and in charge of the All India Congress Committee, was the party’s election agent.
Barbhuiya is also said to have indicated that if the homes of MLAs close to Sathe were investigated, “packets and packets of cash” would be discovered, according to the notice.
“My client states that the aforesaid statements issued by you in the press meet are entirely false, fallacious, frivolous, scandalous, derogatory and defamatory.”
“The statements made in the press meet were made intentionally and maliciously to mislead the public and denigrate the image of the Indian National Congress,” Nawaz demanded an “unconditional public apology” and the withdrawal of Barbhuiya’s words in the notice.
Moreover, Barbhuyan has been given seven days to react, after which he will be subjected to criminal and civil proceedings.
Further, Barbhuiyan told sources that he had not yet gotten an official notification but would respond as soon as he did.
“However, I am not taking it seriously… The Congress leader should be fighting the BJP on issues such as price rise etc. Instead, they are issuing notices against the AIUDF,” he stated, adding that the Congress party had “divisions.”
He claimed, “I maintain that it was the Congress MLAs who voted for the BJP.”
The Congress and the AIUDF had been at odds since before the March 31 election, with both parties accusing each other of cross-voting.
Moreover, in a statement released on April 1, Congress spokesperson Manjit Mahanta said that five AIUDF MPs had “entered” Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s residence at 6 a.m., implying that they had voted for the NDA.
Barbhuiya was one of the five people identified in the press release.