Tarun Gogai addresses the news conference in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos
Guwahati, June 10: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi continued to remain silent on the crisis plaguing the Congress Legislature Party, abruptly ending a news conference this afternoon when questions related to the issue were posed to him.
Gogoi twice evaded queries connected with the crisis — first at the news conference when he was asked about the CLP crisis and again when the electronic media wanted to know when he would carry out a reshuffle.
Gogoi seemed to have convened the news conference to convey to the masses that the government was functioning as usual and had not become a victim of the deepening CLP crisis. He announced arrests of 10 UPLA members in the Hamren SP killing case and thanked the Modi-led government’s vision, as laid down by President Pranab Mukherjee in his joint address to Parliament yesterday, to resolve the influx issue.
Congress watchers said Gogoi’s silence and inaction to resolve the crisis have left party workers and leaders, supporting or opposing him, confused and confounded. “By immersing himself in government activities, he has also conveyed that he is not quitting,” a PCC member said.
While Gogoi continues to maintain a studied silence for over 20 days now apparently without having majority support in the CLP, the man seeking to unseat him, Himanta Biswa Sarma, left today for Delhi to know the AICC’s mind on its future course of action on resolving the crisis.
A member of Sarma’s group said he had gone on official work, but would also meet the three-member AICC team set up by party president Sonia Gandhi to resolve the crisis. The one-week deadline reportedly given to Gogoi by the AICC to come up with a solution to resolve the crisis ends tomorrow. “Our team is not only intact, our number is growing,” he said.
As things stand today, the Sarma camp claims the support of 45 of the 77 party MLAs. “Gogoi, who is being backed by the high command till now, is not inspiring confidence among his backers. If he has a plan to tide over the crisis, we are not aware of it,” one of his backers said.
Both his loyalists and opponents are worried about the fate of the party in the 2016 Assembly polls because of the CLP crisis.
Gogoi also said today that his government would move the Centre for reimbursement of the around Rs 10,000 crore it has lost in crude oil royalty since 2008 because of underpayment by Delhi.
“We will cite a Supreme Court judgment passed recently in favour of Gujarat which had filed a case against underpayment by the Centre,” Gogoi said.