Retired top bureaucrat Bhanu joins Cong, Rekib revolts

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Feb 11: Retired IAS officer and former additional chief secretary of Assam, MGVK Bhanu, who hails from Andhra Pradesh, joined the Congress on Monday. However, Bhanu’s joining has led to an open revolt by several Congress leaders, including MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed.

Ten people, including Bhanu, joined the Congress at a function held at Rajiv Bhawan here. Several Congress leaders, including Assam Pradesh Congress committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora, were present in the programme.

Bhanu is likely to contest the upcoming Lok Sabha elections from prestigious Tezpur seat, currently held by the BJP’s Ram Prasad Sharma.

Bhanu, who retired last year, had also served as a director in the Union tourism ministry and was the chairman of Tea Board. Bhanu was very close to Congress stalwart Tarun Gogoi when the latter was serving as chief minister. He was also very close to the late YS Rajasekhara Reddy.

“It is after my retirement that I have decided on joining politics,” Bhanu told reporters. “I took the decision to join politics after retirement and this has nothing to do with elections. I thought my joining a political party could be useful since I served in the government,” he said.

Asked if the Congress promised him a ticket, the retired bureaucrat said he would apply for a ticket to contest the Lok Sabha elections from Tezpur.

“It is upto the party to decide whether I should contest or not,” he said, adding: “After retirement, I wanted to join the Congress party. I worked with Congress chief minister (Gogoi) and I have great faith in the leadership of (Congress president) Rahul Gandhi Ji. He is the right choice for the country”.

On the other hand, former minister and MLA Rockybul Hussain and several other Congress leaders were not happy with Bhanu’s joining in the Congress.

“Once he was very close to Himanta Biswa Sarma. So he should expose him now,” Hussain said.

“We have no objection in joining new persons in Congress. But senior leaders should not be deprived of party tickets during elections,” MLA Rekibuddin Ahmend said.

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