With the Congress falling to an all-time low of three seats out of 14 in the state, detractors within the ruling party in Assam have renewed their “Gogoi-hatao” campaign. This comes close on the heels of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi announcing that he would submit his resignation to the Congress high command within a few days.
Though the dissidents have not made any statement, at least four members of Gogoi’s council of ministers refrained from attending its first meeting since the Lok Sabha results, with some of them meeting separately along with a group of party MLAs in the state capital here.
Meanwhile, as Gogoi flew to New Delhi, his supporters led by former Transport minister Anjan Dutta, called for stern action against those blaming him for the electoral disaster. Dutta also advised Gogoi to reshuffle his ministry within the next two weeks.
However, Gogoi said he was not aware of any such move by his detractors. “I have not seen anybody asking for my resignation in any party forum so far. Anybody is free to make any demand,” he said. On the absence of some ministers, including Education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, at the meeting, Gogoi said they might have been preoccupied.
Meanwhile, senior party leader Biren Singh Engti, who was re-elected from the Autonomous (ST) constituency to Lok Sabha said dissidence and indiscipline within the Congress was responsible for its dismal performance. “Indiscipline within the party has come to the open in the past two years,” Engti said.
The dissidents on their part were waiting for May 16, expecting that the Congress would get less than seven seats, giving them a chance to seek Gogoi’s removal. But the tally dipped so low across the country that they had to drop that idea.
Former Apple executive and Dwarka MLA Adarsh Shastri has also been included in the spokespersons’ list.