Guwahati, July 17: UPA presidential candidate Pranab Mukherjee is assured of the vote of 111 Assam legislators of the 126 in the state Assembly, according to chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
The three-time chief minister made the claim at the CLP room this evening after a joint legislature party meeting of the Congress-Bodoland Peoples Front legislators. The presidential elections are scheduled for July 19.
Also present with him were Pratap Bhanu Sarma, the observer for the polls, and Assam PCC president and Rajya Sabha MP Bhubaneswar Kalita, who will be casting his vote in the state Assembly.
“We are assured of 111 votes. This include 78 MLAs of the Congress, 12 of the BPF, 18 of the Opposition AIUDF, which is critical of me but very friendly with Congress in Delhi, and two Independents, besides that of the lone Trinamul Congress MLA, who had pledged support to our nominee much before its central leadership did. We had a mock vote at the meeting this evening. (PA) Sangma will get only 15 votes,” Gogoi said.
The Opposition AGP has 10 and the BJP five MLAs in the Assembly.
The developments came on a day when Rajiv Bhawan, the Congress headquarters, was agog with rumours about AICC general secretary Digvijaya Singh, in-charge of Assam PCC, being replaced by his colleague B.K. Hariprasad.
Both Gogoi and Kalita said they were not aware about any such decision but sources here claimed Hariprasad would be officiating in absence of Singh when he goes to the US for the treatment of his ailing wife.
A Congress insider said, “There has been both opposition and support for Singh over the formation of the new PCC committee. Those reportedly left out of the committee were overjoyed over the reports replacing him, those finding a berth were downcast. But there has been no official word from the AICC.”