Guwahati, May 20 : The problem of Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi may not be over merely by offering his resignation to the Congress president as the dissident camp, led by Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, wants him to vacate the chair for a new chief minister in Assam.
Though, dissident leaders who claim to have the strength of nearly 50 out of 78 Congress legislators are tight-lipped, they gave enough hint about their action plan by motivating at least five Cabinet ministers to boycott the Cabinet meeting convened by the chief minister on Monday to formulate a strategy to observe completion of 13 years of the government led by him.
When the Cabinet meeting was held three Cabinet ministers — Himanta Biswa Sarma, Gautam Roy and Sidiqui Ahmed — were closeted at the residence of veteran Congress MLA Sarat Barkatoky in the MLA hostel.
The parliamentary secretaries in the Gogoi government and deputy-speaker Bhima Nanda Tanti were also present in the meeting. Two senior ministers, Ardhendu Dey and Ajit Singh, did not attend the Cabinet meeting.
The leaders of the dissident camp emerging from the meeting, in their off-camera interaction with reporters said that they would insist on seeking a change of leadership as Mr Gogoi has lost the confidence of more than 50 legislators of the Congress.
Asserting that party has also lost the confidence of voters, a minister emerging from the meeting said, “If some drastic step is not taken, Congress may have to see more pathetic result in 2016 assembly elections in the state.” The dissident leaders were of view that offering resignation was a planned move of Mr Gogoi to placate the growing dissidence as he was not willing to quit. “We are going to press for Congress Legislature Party meeting to elect leaders,” the dissident leaders who did not want to be quoted said.
Earlier, Assam power minister Pradyut Bordoloi told reporters that cabinet meeting was convened to pass a resolution expressing our gratitude to the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Congress president Sonia Gandhi for their sincere contribution in development of Assam.
He said, “The cabinet meeting has also decided to organize public meetings at district headquarters and state level to observe completion of 13 years of the Gogoi government.”
Mr Bordoloi also rejected that there was any discussion on defeat of the party in the just concluded Lok Sabha elections. “We have already announced that collective leadership of the party which includes ministers as well has taken the responsibility for the defeat of the party,” said Mr Borodoi rejecting that there was any dissension against the leadership of Mr Gogoi