Guwahati, Oct. 18: Both the pro and anti-Tarun Gogoi camps sharpened their strategies on how to approach tomorrow’s much-awaited Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting.
But indications are that issues related to development and ministerial performance will be raised from both sides.
Both senior and junior MLAs such as Anjan Dutta, Rana Goswami, Debabrata Saikia (all three seen to be close to Gogoi), Chandan Sarkar, Pradan Baruah, Pallav Lochan Das and Rupjyoti Kurmi (who are in the anti-Gogoi camp led by health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma) stressed on the two issues in the greater interest of the party and how a united Congress could do wonders in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, blurring the divide between the two sides.
But the build-up to the meeting saw both sides flexing their muscles with forest minister Rakibul Hussain, often attacked by the anti-Gogoi camp over rhino poaching, saying he, too, will have a lot of questions for a few ministers. He also made a request to Gogoi to allow the live telecast of the proceedings so that the public get to know the complete truth.
The divide also played out in the open when a group of partymen from Chaygaon staged a dharna to condemn the assault on Assam PCC chief spokesman Mehdi Alam Bora during the Pujas by supporters of local MLA Rekibuddin Ahmed, a close aide of Sarma whose band of legislators met in groups at different locations in the MLA Hostel, including Sarma’s quarters tonight.
Sarma has gained of late by reaching out to all sections within the CLP by clarifying that he had no immediate chief ministerial ambition, sources said.
A cautious Sarma told The Telegraph tonight that there were some “small” differences, which would be sorted out tomorrow and the CLP would emerge as a united house after the meeting.
The anti-Gogoi camp will particularly target the non-performing ministers to embarrass Gogoi, who is likely to continue along with PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita till the 2014 elections.
Gogoi had a meeting with ministers Rakibul Hussain, power minister Pradyut Bordoloi, PWD minister Ajanta Neog and agriculture minister Nilamani Sen Deka at his office this afternoon.
As part of the strategy to defang the rival camp, Gogoi will not stop anybody from questioning any minister, sources said.
He will also announce holding of such CLP meets every month.
He has directed the deputy commissioners to submit a status report on the development/lack of development in their districts to counter the rival group.
Kurmi said he would definitely raise issues related to development tomorrow. Others would also speak about these issues and ministerial indifference, he said.
Das said there were lot of issues to be discussed which, if fixed, would only help the party at the hustings.
The man to watch will be Dutta, who is being wooed by both camps as he has his supporters and followers in both camps.
He was entrusted by the AICC to strike a compromise between the two groups till the 2014 polls.
Dutta this evening talked about ministerial incompetence but stayed away from commenting on Gogoi.
The clamour for unity also dominated the run-up to the meeting with Assam PCC issuing a statement this evening hoping tomorrow’s meeting would find a fruitful and lasting solution to differences in the CLP.
“This is not the time to fight or develop differences. In view of the 2014 elections, all of us, whether in the party or government, must concentrate on unity to win more seats. Tomorrow’s CLP meeting is very crucial and it has to ensure differences are sorted out,” Haren Das, chairman of the media department of Assam PCC, told this correspondent.
PCC president Kalita will be attending the meeting.