| Chief minister Tarun Gogoi interacts with leaders of various political parties at the all-party meet on BTAD held at Assam Administrative Staff College in Guwahati on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Aug. 17: Forty-eight hours after education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma reportedly submitted a letter to chief minister Tarun Gogoi expressing his desire to quit, there has been no official word on the issue.
For the second straight day, Gogoi was summarily dismissive about the reported resignation offer.
“The issue now is rehabilitation, not Himanta,” Gogoi told reporters this afternoon when asked about the letter after the all-party meeting he chaired on the BTAD situation. Yesterday, he had responded similarly, “Ask him.”
However, the Ulfa faction led by Paresh Asom (Barua) today blamed the “infighting” within the ruling Congress for the ongoing riot in BTAD.
“The ongoing clash between Bodos and religious minorities in lower Assam is an example of how the common people are being made scapegoat for political gains. Nobody is ignorant of the fact that lower Assam is burning because of the factional fight in state Congress. The power struggle between Tarun Gogoi and one of his junior colleagues has left the latter politically frustrated,” Barua said in a statement emailed to The Telegraph, without referring to Sarma.
AICC general secretary in charge of Assam PCC, Digvijaya Singh, toed Gogoi’s line but obliquely admitted to a problem within the government. “Peace in Assam is more important than internal bickering,” he said. Sarma, who has not been attending office since yesterday but clearing important files from his residence, was evasive.
“CM is the leader ‘so whatever he says is true’,” he told The Telegraph. He, however, did not react to his abstaining from office or asking his official security personnel not to come. Sarma had submitted the letter to Gogoi on August 15 afternoon. The same day, he also resigned as an MLA, but the letter was not accepted by the Speaker, as it was not written according to House rules.
PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita said, “I cannot say anything as I have not received anything officially.”