Guwahati, May 28: Assam power minister Devananda Konwar and five more Congress legislators today found themselves under the scanner for a test of loyalty after some colleagues held them responsible for the party’s unsatisfactory performance in certain segments of the state’s 14 Lok Sabha constituencies.
The Congress’ state executive committee, which met at Rajiv Bhawan here this afternoon, received several complaints about senior members, including Konwar, allegedly working against the party.
Union minister of state for defence Bijoy Krishna Handique, who was re-elected to Parliament from Jorhat constituency, had accused Konwar of trying to harm his prospects.
The power minister fell foul of the party leadership when he demanded, in an interview to The Telegraph, that the inquiry into the theft of crude oil from pipelines should cover the home department, which is headed by chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
Police and political leaders are suspected of having patronised the group that pilfered crude oil from pipelines for several years.
Apart from Konwar, legislators Rajiv Lochan Pegu, Bidya Singh Ingleng, Pradan Baruah, Raju Sahu and Dileshwar Tanti allegedly worked against the party in the run-up to the Lok Sabha elections.
Four of them — Pegu, Baruah, Sahu and Tanti — represent Assembly segments of Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency. They stand accused of playing a role in the defeat of Ranee Narah, who was the sitting MP from Lakhimpur. The two-time Lok Sabha member lost to Arun Sarma of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP).
All four legislators had petitioned the AICC’s Assam in-charge, Digvijay Singh, not to nominate Narah for the seat.
Ingleng allegedly campaigned against Congress candidate Biren Singh Engti in the Autonomous District (formerly Diphu) constituency after the party sidelined the original nominee, his wife Kuntila Ronghangpi, a day before the last date for filing nominations. Engti, believed to be the chief minister’s choice, won the election.
A senior Congress leader said the executive committee decided to form a screening committee to ascertain the veracity of the allegations against Konwar and the other five legislators. Another session will be held by the end of next month to discuss the findings of the committee.
PCC president Paban Singh Ghatowar was entrusted with the responsibility of forming the committee immediately.
Ghatowar said the Congress would conduct a post-mortem of its Assembly-wise performance in the recent parliamentary poll.
“A panel consisting of at least five members will be constituted soon in consultation with the chief minister.”