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Polls, not row on Cong mind

- AICC gauges mood in state

Guwahati, June 6: It is not dissidence but the Congress’s prospects in Assam in the 2014 general elections that seem to be worrying the party’s central leadership.

AICC general secretary Madhusudan Mistry underscored this today during a one-on-one with the district presidents at the Rajiv Bhawan here where they discussed only issues related to the general elections.

The Congress has set its sights on winning 12 of the 14 seats in the state. It currently holds only seven.

District presidents The Telegraph interacted with said Mistry discussed the party’s prospects, the strength of aspirants, rivals and organisational matters. He interacted with each president for nearly half an hour.

“Only issues connected to the general election were discussed. He entertained only the district Congress committee presidents. The word dissidence was not uttered even once,” a district president said.

AICC secretary-in-charge of Assam Parvez Hashmi, who had visited Assam recently, too, had said there was no time to experiment before the general elections when asked about the dissidents’ push for a change of guard.

Mistry, an MP from Gujarat who is part of Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s core team and heads the team of observers to assess the party’s nation-wide poll prospects, also kept the media at bay. He will leave the state after meeting the remaining presidents tomorrow. The Congress has 27 district units in Assam.

Jayanta Mala Baruah and Rekibuddin Ahmed — legislators seen to be belonging to the dissident camp — had to be content with only greeting Mistry despite having flown in from Delhi early this morning to welcome him, sources said.

Around 10 legislators of the dissident camp have been reportedly camping in Delhi for past few days to push their case for removal of Gogoi and a cabinet reshuffle.

On the other hand, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who confused his supporters and detractors yesterday by stating he was ready to resign — if all ministers quit — to give a new team the opportunity to administer Assam, declined to react this evening to activities of the dissident camp.

In his speech at a function organised today to felicitate the Assam duo who scaled Mount Everest, Gogoi said there was no shortcut in politics — a remark seen by party insiders as a subtle dig at the young members of the anti-Gogoi camp.

The chief minister also convened a meeting of eight ministers late this evening to discuss the June 8 celebration of the second anniversary of the government’s third straight term in Dispur and the June 19 Guwahati Municipal Corporation elections, sources said. The ministers who attended the meeting included Ajanta Neog, Pradyut Bordoloi, Ardhendu Dey, Rakibul Hussain, Prithibi Majhi, Nilamoni Sen Deka, Nazrul Islam and Rajiv Lochan Pegu, the sources added.

PCC office-bearers, too, met this evening at Rajiv Bhawan to discuss the GMC poll preparations.

The party will release its manifesto for the municipal election tomorrow evening.