January 26, 2021 11:34:26 am
Having decided against projecting a chief ministerial face and giving into demands for replacing the state Congress president ahead of Assembly elections in Assam, the Congress high command on Monday announced several committees for the poll-bound state. It appointed almost every senior leader as head of a panel in a balancing act to accommodate everyone and quell factional feud. Lok Sabha MP Pradyut Bordoloi will head the campaign committee.
Sources said AICC In charge Jitendra Singh had told top Congress leaders from the state at a closed-door meeting recently that the party will not project anyone as the CM candidate. In fact, he also virtually put all the leaders on notice, telling them that every leader will get a “post” in election related panels but how they “conduct” themselves while delivering the task assigned to them will decide their fate.
Besides infighting, one of the obvious reasons the party cannot project a CM face is because it was now in a multi-party coalition, sources said.
At that meeting, many leaders including Bordoloi and Lok Sabha MP Ahdul Khaleque had demanded replacement of state Congress chief Ripun Bora. With election at the doorsteps, the high command decided against replacing him but has put Bordoloi as head of the 50-member campaign committee. AICC secretary Bhupen Bora, who was another aspirant for the PCC chief post, will be the vice chairperson of the campaign committee.
State Congress president Ripun Bora will head the 24-member Pradesh Election Committee and CLP leader Debabrata Saikia will be the vice chairperson. All the top leaders are members of this panel. For the first time, an outreach committee has been set up to work on social engineering. Mahila Congress president and former Lok Sabha MP Sushmita Dev will head the outreach committee.
Veteran Congress leader and former Union minister Paban Singh Ghatowar will head the coordination committee, Congress deputy leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi is the chairman of the manifesto committee, Barpeta MP Ahdul Khaleque will head the media and communication committee and Deputy CLP leader and former minister Rokibul Hussain will head the publicity committee.
Former BJP MP Ram Prasad Sharma, who once rode a horse to Parliament to mark his protest against the Delhi government’s odd-even traffic restrictions, will head the Election Management Committee.
CLP leader Saikia is perhaps the only senior leader who will not be heading a panel. Saikia, besides Bordoloi and Ripun Bora, was among the aspirants for the CM post in the event of the Congress returning to power in the state.
Asked about the Congress’s chances, one senior leader said, “We are in the fight. But some polarisation has already happened because of the alliance with Badruddin Ajmal’s AIUDF. But we didn’t have much of an option…It is like damned if you do, damned if you don’t.”
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