| PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita in Guwahati on Thursday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, July 24: The Assam PCC today came down heavily on the dissident members of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) and warned that violation of party discipline would not be tolerated.
The recent act of Himanta Biswa Sarma to meet governor J.B. Patnaik and submit his resignation was a violation of party norms and tarnished the image of the Congress, the PCC said today. It was the first time since dissidence started in the CLP that the PCC has talked tough and warned action against rebel MLAs.
“I met chief minister Tarun Gogoi and discussed the political situation arising after Monday’s ‘unauthorized’ meeting of a section of Congress MLAs with governor J.B. Patnaik. We do not endorse such a meeting and termed it as violation of the party discipline. The tendering of resignation to the governor, bypassing the chief minister, is unconstitutional and shows disregard to the decision of the high command. Such an act has tarnished the image of the Congress,” PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita said.
Sarma, who was the health, education and Assam Accord minister, resigned on Monday citing that “it is physically, mentally and politically not possible to work under the chief minister”.
Sarma, who was once the most influential minister in the Tarun Gogoi cabinet, has been leading dissidence in the CLP for the last two years to unseat the chief minister. Sarma was accompanied by 27 dissident MLAs when he went to Raj Bhavan to submit his resignation.
Kalita, who was speaking to reporters at Rajiv Bhawan, the state Congress headquarters here this morning, said the meeting of MLAs with the governor was an extreme act of impatience and violation of the party discipline.
“Sarma and the MLAs must have sought permission from the party before meeting the governor. But they went to Raj Bhavan without the permission,” he said.
Asked why it took so long for the PCC to talk tough against the dissidents, Kalita said the party had been dealing with the issue and trying to settle the differences among MLAs. “But we cannot go all the time to the media to publicise our acts. I met Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi respectively and briefed them about the road map to end the differences between a section of MLAs and the chief minister,” he said.
Kalita also dismissed reports and allegations that he was aspiring to become the chief minister and thus kept mum on the dissidence. “I had never been a candidate and would never become one for the post of chief minister,” he said.
Leaving the issue of taking disciplinary action against the dissident MLAs to the high command, Kalita said an extended executive committee meeting of the PCC would be held in the first week of next month to bridge the differences between Congress MLAs and the chief minister. “At the end we are all Congress workers and will have to remain united,” he said.