Guwahati, May 8: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today stressed the decline in civilian killings and the ministry of home affairs’ letter of appreciation for successfully containing the BTAD violence to dismiss demands for his resignation from within the state’s Congress Legislature Party.
At a news conference here this afternoon, Gogoi said he would not resign as chief minister and that his record as home minister will speak for him.
Senior-most Congress MLA Rameswar Dhanowar last evening sought Gogoi’s resignation over his handling of the BTAD situation as home minister and alienating the people from the party by making light of serious issues. Several other MLAs were also critical of him over the issue.
Gogoi, however, appeared unperturbed as he put forward his own defence as the state home minister.
Civilian killings have gone down from 412 in 2000 under the AGP-led government to below 50 — 39 and 46 in 2012 and 2013 respectively — but for the ethnic clashes.
“Even after the Kokrajhar riots which claimed 109 lives, the toll was 148. I am not claiming success but the rate has gone down. We are trying to bring it down further. Secondly, the Centre has appreciated our handling of the situation. We are doing our duty and are not sitting idle,” Gogoi said.
He was, however, dismissive of Dhanowar’s demand or those raised indirectly by the anti-Gogoi camp in the CLP.
“Let people talk. I will go on discharging my responsibilities. I will not quit because he (Dhanowar) is asking for it. We have our high command. If it asks me to leave I will leave. I am not hankering after power,” the chief minister said.
Dhanowar said Gogoi’s reaction was along expected lines and that Assam’s biggest problem is the state’s council of ministers. “Please wait till May 16 to know what we are trying to convey,” he told The Telegraph, referring to the reports of possible outbreak of violence in the BTAD after declaration of results on May 16.
Dhanowar’s response suggested that a “major” political upheaval is likely to unfold post-May 16. Party insiders said the high command’s indecision would cost the party dear in the long run.
Though Gogoi did not say much beyond fall in civilian killings and Centre’s praise for his government’s handling of the situation, his aides said the MHA had in a letter on May 6 appreciated Dispur’s successful handling of the unrest to “prevent” an ethnic carnage.
The other untold story which got buried in the blame game, they said, was the “flawless” state-Centre co-ordination.
Unlike in the 2012 riots, when it took seven days for the army to be deployed, it was deployed within three hours on May 1, the day violence broke out.
Moreover, the Centre was to withdraw 10 additional companies deployed for the polls on May 1 but it extended their stay.
“The additional forces and prompt deployment of the army were developments which never got highlighted. We also managed to contain the violence after two days unlike 2012 when it continued for weeks. We now need to focus on checking any untoward incident after declaration of results on May 16,” an aide said.