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Gogoi offers to resign

Guwahati, May 16: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi reiterated for the umpteenth time today that he would submit his resignation to the party high command in the wake of the ruling party’s debacle in the Lok Sabha polls in the state.

The situation the three-time chief minister found himself today in is of his own making as he had, before the verdict, offered to quit if the Congress tally fell below the 2009 tally of seven seats.

“Will I have to tell you 10 times that I will resign?” he asked while addressing reporters this evening. “Along with party workers we will decide the time of resignation. Being the captain, I will not run away from the crisis the party faces. I do not hanker after power. I thank the people of Assam for giving us the chance to serve them three times,” he said.

“It is not a verdict against the state government but against the Centre. This is not the first time that we have been defeated. But I am taking full responsibility for the defeat,” Gogoi said.

The Congress won three of the 14 seats in Assam with six of the seven sitting party MPs, including Union ministers Paban Singh Ghatowar and Ranee Narah, biting the dust. Till the run-up to Judgement Day, Gogoi was confident of winning eight seats when exit polls gave the party around five seats, much lower than the 12 seats the party was angling for after efforts to sew up a BJP-AGP alliance fell through.

Gogoi said he would analyse the reasons for the defeat. “How can I say anything now? We will later see where we failed or what mistakes we made. We will talk with the central committee, district committees and the frontal organisations. Maybe we failed to launch the kind of publicity the election required or contact the people,” he had said earlier in the day.

Echoing Gogoi, Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita said, “There are multiple reasons behind the defeat. A high-level meeting will be held next week to analyse the reasons. There was also the Modi impact because the BJP has got votes in some places where the party doesn’t even have a unit. The BJP’s publicity was done not only by the BJP but also by the Sangh Parivar”.

The outcome of Elections 2014 has only compounded problems for embattled Gogoi, who was up against dissidence within the Congress Legislature Party (CLP). Some party legislators had started demanding his resignation, directly or indirectly, on local television channels after voting for the three-phase polls ended on April 24.

Ruling out dissidence, Gogoi attributed the BJP’s rise to Modi magic. “(Narendra) Modi made some wrong publicity about us. Everybody knows this. The word had spread that the BJP would send the Bangladeshis out of the state starting May 17 and we were sheltering Bangladeshis in Kaziranga. These are emotional issues and affected the election. But the Congress will make a comeback. Nobody can stop us. We will return in 2016. We will fight back. It is a temporary setback,” he said.

The anti-Gogoi camp within the CLP, however, does not share the temporary setback. They said they would continue with its agenda of having a “clean, responsive and performing government at Dispur” but will wait for a few days given the setback suffered by the party.

“Since Gogoi has said he will resign, we will wait for a few days in the greater interest of the party. We will meet and get feedback of all our members,” one of them said, indicating that Gogoi’s post-poll blues will continue for the time being.

The Congress headquarters here wore a deserted look with only few party functionaries and reporters gathered for the post-result reaction. A puja was organised on the campus this morning by a PCC secretary but the gods seemed to have looked the other way.