Guwahati, March 22: “Comical” and “autocratic megalomania” are only some of the words used by the disgruntled group of Congress legislators to describe the “hon’ble” chief minister Tarun Gogoi and his style of functioning.
In their memorandum to AICC president Sonia Gandhi submitted through Assam in-charge Digvijaya Singh, the group of 31 warned that the party’s prospects in next ye-ar’s Lok Sabha polls appeared bleak, given the way “things are going on in the state.”
The seven-page document, which The Telegraph is privy to, gives vent to the group’s anger against the chief minister, while citing instances of “anti-Centre and shallow” words spoken by him. For instance, it picks on Gogoi’s recent statement (see chart) denigrating his predecessors, who were “dignified luminaries”, and also showing generations of central leadership “since the time of Nehruji” in poor light. “His public image has taken a serious beating, making him appear, at times, age-affected and at other times, comical,” it said. It also smells “autocratic megalomania” in Gogoi’s “I don’t care even if 50 MLAs oppose me.”
The list of complaints and concerns does not forget the state’s beleaguered wildlife, seen as an attack on forest minister Rakibul Hussain without naming him. “The systematic slaughter of the one-horn (sic) rhino, tigers etc have raised serious questions in public mind about a nexus with criminals.”
They also picked on Lok Sabha MP Ranee Narah without naming her for hosting a dinner for select Congress legislators the day the signature campaign seeking support for Gogoi was launched. “One central minister took leave from the Parliament session and threw (sic) a dinner for a select section of MLAs, thereby, creating bitterness and division in the CLP,” it said, adding how “rampant corruption” had exposed the government to severe criticism.
While apprehending “serious communal and ethnic polarisation” that could adversely impact the party’s electoral performance in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls, the memorandum highlights the “considerable” resentment in the tea community because no concrete step had been taken to address their grievances.
Similarly, the linguistic minorities, another major Congress vote bank, are dissatisfied, as Dispur had not allotted any fund to the Linguistic Minority Development Board. It said minority votes had been polarised against the Congress not because of the AIUDF but because of the dent made to the government’s image by the BTAD riots.
Sources close to the chief minister said the anti-Gogoi camp had stooped to character assassination after realising that their efforts were doomed to fail. “A man who is seasoned, popular, respected and loyal to the Gandhi family and has led the party to three consecutive Assembly wins must be having something to last so long. People love him. The question of thinking about replacement does not arise. The chief minister will react to these charges in his own style, rest assured,” a minister told this correspondent.
Gogoi, sources said, would continue till the next Lok Sabha polls and might launch a massive exercise to tone up the government. The signature campaign showed 58 of the 79 Congress legislators reposing faith in Gogoi before he stopped it.
Bharat Narah, press adviser to the chief minister, said he had been asked not to react on the issue.