Upset with seats, Cong tea cell to plough on

Guwahati, March 21 : Shrugging off its disappointment over the tea community not getting its share of tickets, the Congress tea cell is now working overtime to offset the impact of a newly floated party backed by the Adivasi/tea tribes organisations on the Congress support base in the garden areas.
The tea community has the largest presence in Dibrugarh, Jorhat, Koliabor and Tezpur parliamentary seats and the tea cell was hoping for at least two nominations from these constituencies. But the party has given the ticket only to Pawan Singh Ghatowar from Dibrugarh. 
Stating that it was unfortunate that the community did not get more than one seat, the cell’s chairman, Bhagirat Karan, said his organisation was not allowing the disappointment to hamper its work. “The challenge before us now is to retain the party’s traditional vote base among the tea community and we will leave no stone unturned to ensure that.”
The cell has also offered an olive branch to the disgruntled students’ body — the Assam Tea Tribes Students Association — which has threatened to prevent the entry of some Congress leaders and candidates in the tea garden areas. “We don’t want any confrontation with ATTSA. We will definitely try to address the issues raised by the students,” Karan said. “It is true that we could not solve all the problems, but we are sincere and committed to solving the problems, unlike other parties which are shedding crocodile tears for the community only for political mileage.”
Karan said other than the Congress, no other party has any agenda or programmes for the tea communities. Nor do they have any organisations in the tea belts. In the absence of any programmes and organisations, not a single party, including the recently floated National People’s Party, backed by some tea organisations, would be able to cut into the Congress’s vote base, Karan claimed. 
At the same time, he said, the cell has intensified its campaign in the tea garden areas so that the voters were not misguided by propaganda. “Merely nominating candidates from the tea tribes would not bring votes. Let the Opposition parties tell the people what their agenda is for the community. We are going to the people with the list of programmes the Congress government has undertaken and implemented for the welfare of the tea community,” he said. 
Karan was hopeful that the tea voters would not be swayed by the “propaganda” of the other political parties. Some tea organisations were politically “mature” and well aware as to which party would serve their interests.