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Congress does a balancing act
- Digvijay appointed Assam in-charge

Guwahati, Dec. 4: The appointment of AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh as the in-charge of Assam is being seen as a “very deft and timely move” by the high command to “bridge” the gap between Rajiv Bhawan and Dispur so that it can effectively check the onslaught of the Opposition which today decided to jointly move the Centre, seeking action against those involved in the NC Hills Autonomous Council scam.

Having been a part of the 2006 election process, Singh is said to be familiar with all key PCC leaders and would not be easily swayed by opinions of partymen trying to push through their vested agenda.

Sources said the high command, having overruled Gogoi over the PCC president’s post and composition of the new PCC zeroed in on Singh because both Gogoi and Kalita would be comfortable working with him.

“The government had been floundering after Gogoi's health-induced absence while the party too lost focus because of the organisational polls. Singh’s appointment is a signal to get our act together,” a PCC member said.

Singh, a former chief minister of Madhya Pradesh, replaces Veerappa Moily whose busy schedule as law minister and as in-charge of Andhra Pradesh was seen as an impediment to galvanising the state unit that has come under pressure from the Opposition on issues such as big dams, corruption and price rise.

Welcoming the move, PCC members Rana Khan and Rajesh Joshi said it was a deft move that was taken timely in the interest of the party.

“Under Singh, we won the last elections. We can hope to repeat the feat this time, too,” Khan said.

Joshi added, “We have worked closely before and we will once again work to get the party back in power. He is familiar with everybody and is widely respected within the party.”

Singh will also have to complete Moily’s unfinished task — to ensure that ministers frequently visit Rajiv Bhawan and declare their assets to send the right signal to the party’s rank and file.

The Opposition, however, seems not to be swayed by the government’s offer for a debate on the CAG’s interim report highlighting massive irregularities in NC Hills. Representatives of the AGP, CPI, CPM, AIUDF and the BJP, led by leader of the Opposition Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, met in the Assembly today to chalk out a joint strategy to corner the Gogoi government.

The meeting was followed by the AGP Legislature Party meeting.

Mahanta told The Telegraph that the Opposition parties would send a joint memorandum to President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Governor J.B. Patnaik by tomorrow to take action against those involved in the irregularities as pointed out in the CAG’s inspection report.

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