Guwahati, Sept. 4: Former Congress MP Kirip Chaliha and chief minister Tarun Gogoi today sparred over the women’s commission case lodged against Chaliha.
The day started with Chaliha addressing a press conference at a hotel opposite the secretariat, revealing about the legal notice he had served to Gogoi on August 31 for having “deliberately” harmed his reputation by seeking action for comments he had not made against Jorhat superintendent of police Sanjukta Parashar.
The commission had registered a suo motu case against Chaliha on August 26 for making certain alleged “objectionable remark” involving Gogoi and Parashar over the Rupjyoti Kurmi assault case, which has further deepened the rift within the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). The commission had based its case on media reports where Chaliha was quoted as allegedly talking about “unusual proximity” between the chief minister and the police officer.
Chaliha said he had to stand up for Kurmi given the treatment he was meted out by Parashar in the assault case like seeking public help to trace the Mariani MLA. In the legal notice released after the news meet, Gogoi was asked to tender an unconditional apology for defaming the former MP.
It also tried to clarify the remark by stating the “proximity” remark was made in context of her being a blue-eyed official and was in no sense an innuendo belittling the lady officer.
Chaliha’s news conference was followed by one called by Bharat Chandra Narah, press adviser to Gogoi, who said the chief minister would respond to the legal notice. But it dwelt more on the prevailing situation in the state so as not to give the feeling of being overtly concerned over the developments.
On Chaliha’s charges that the commission was influenced to move against him within hours of Gogoi’s press conference on August 26, a cautious Narah said, “it was a coincidence”.
He also said Gogoi was only responding to queries from the media over Chaliha’s remark.
Sources said the chief minister’s aides had planned to counter Chaliha by fielding his arch-rival Haren Das and former minister Ripun Bora but the plan was shelved when it became clear that Chaliha would attack Gogoi directly.
The chief minister’s office also went through the excerpts from the audio recording of Gogoi’s press conference before facing the media today.