Himanta Biswa Sarma barred from campaigning, cop brother transferred

The minister and BJP’s star campaigner has responded to the ECI notice, even as his cop brother Sushanta has been shunted out of Goalpara

Image Courtesy:ndtv.com

A day after the Election Commission of India (ECI) barred Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma from campaigning for 48 hours, Sarma has responded to the ECI’s notice.

Trouble began shortly after it became known that Himanta Biswa Sarma had allegedly threatened Hagrama Molihary. Sarma was quoted by the media as having allegedly said that Molihary, a Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) leader will go to jail if he engages in extremist activity, and that the case was being given to the National Investigation Agency (NIA).

It is noteworthy that the BPF was an ally of the BJP until they were unceremoniously dumped when the BJP allied with the newly formed United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) in the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) elections that were held in December last year. For the Assembly Elections, the BPF has fielded 12 candidates, and is one of the partners of the Grand Alliance, led by the Congress.

After Sarma, who is a powerful minister presiding over ministries of health and finance in Assam, allegedly issued the threat, the Congress complained to the ECI. The ECI then issued Sarma a show-cause notice, giving him time till 5 P.M on April 2. The notice also obtained from the Chief Electoral Officer of Assam, the portion of Sarma’s media interview where he issued the threat and the excerpt was included in the ECI notice.

Sarma had said, “If Hagrama does extremism with Batha he will go to jail. This is a straight talk. If Hagrama encourages Batha, he will go to jail. Already got lot of evidence. This case is being given to NIA.  The recovery of arms at Kokrajhar in a car, that case is being given to NIA. Nobody will be allowed to do unrest in BTR, even if he is Hagrama or any one.” 

The show-cause notice may be read here: 

On April 2, the ECI barred him from campaigning for 48 hours. Sarma, accordingly suspended campaigning:

But, has now responded to the ECI notice:


Sarma gave details of the weapon’s seizure mentioned in his media interview and claimed that investigations into the case so far have “indicated close connection and nexus of Shri Hagrama Malihary and his party with the nabbed accused persons” and asked the ECI to take a deeper look into the matter. He also claimed his comment had been “distorted” in the report by a local publication that was used as the source of the transcript of Sarma’s alleged threat. Also, since the complaint was lodged by the Congress and not the BPF, Sarma has questioned the Congress’s locus standi.

However, Sarma clarified he has not challenged the ECI’s order in court:

The restrictions on campaigning come even as Assam heads into the third and final phase of Assembly elections on April 6. Campaigning for this phase ends on the evening of April 4.

Meanwhile, Himanta’s brother Sushanta Biswa Sarma was transferred out of Goalpara. Veera Venkata Rakesh Reddy has taken over charge as the Superintendent of Police with immediate effect.

The transfer order may be viewed here: 


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