Tarun Gogoi’s detractors in the Congress party Friday built up high-voltage drama by giving him a deadline of 5 pm to talk to them, before a telephone call from New Delhi, promising to send an AICC observer, cooled their tempers. This, however, did not stop the dissidents from declaring that they had lost trust in the Assam Chief Minister.
“I got a call from Gogoi in New Delhi at 2:30 pm today and he told me that the AICC would send senior leader Motilal Vora as an observer within a few days to meet the legislators. Till then we have temporarily suspended our move,” Sarat Borkataki, a senior member of the dissidents’ camp, told the media at 4 pm Friday. The dissidents’ camp claimed they had 45 legislators of 78 on its side.
But three hours before that, state Health Minister and Gogoi’s man Friday-turned bête noire Himanta Biswa Sarma lambasted the CM, saying he could not tolerate the way in which the “Congress was being pushed to the brink”.
“If he (Gogoi) is interested in saving the party from disaster, then he should call any of our four senior legislators by 5 pm,” Sarma said, pointing out that the dissidents had made an appointment with Governor J B Patnaik at 5 pm Friday.
Sarma also warned Gogoi of “consequences” if he continued to remain “arrogant”. “I have put the ball in Gogoi’s court. He will have to face the consequences if he continues to remain arrogant. We have no trust in Tarun Gogoi, and will accept any leader nominated by Sonia Gandhi”.
Sarma described Gogoi’s resignation offer as drama and said, “If he really intended to resign, then why did he have to take 10 ministers along with him?” The minister who had fallen out with Gogoi two years back soon after the CM brought his son Garuav Gogoi to the Congress, also said, “Himanta Biswa Sarma is not interested to remain a minister under Tarun Gogoi.”
Sarma named four senior legislators of his camp — the Congress legislature party in Assam is now clearly split with Sarma heading the anti-Gogoi camp — and said Gogoi should call any of them and avert the crisis before the dissidents head for Raj Bhavan. The four MLAs are Rameswar Dhanowar, Aklius Tirkey, Bhumidhar Barman and Sarat Borkataki.