The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gogoi team chooses poll over PCC
- Several ministers to attend Moran campaign opener in defiance of diktat

Dibrugarh/Guwahati, Sept. 26: Co-ordination between the Congress government in Assam and the PCC has reached a new low with ministers, including Tarun Gogoi, thumbing down party directives.

The rift has taken place despite the Congress co-ordination committee, which was formed to smoothen the relationship between party bosses and those in the government, being reactivated.

Several ministers have decided to accompany Gogoi to an election meeting in Moran tomorrow in defiance of the PCC's directive not to undertake poll-related tasks on weekdays.

PCC chief Bhubaneswar Kalita said at a news conference in Guwahati recently that members of the government had been asked to campaign for the Moran bypoll only on holidays to ensure that their official duties were not neglected.

Apart from Gogoi, labour minister Rameshwar Dhanowar, transport minister Anjan Dutta, rural development minister Ripun Bora, forest minister Pradyut Bordoloi and planning and development minister Himanta Biswa Sarma will attend the election rally in Moran.

Dibrugarh district Congress spokesperson Chandra Kanta Baruah confirmed that these leaders would be there to kick off the party's campaign.

Kalita's diktat apparently offended the chief minister. A source said the chief minister felt the PCC chief was not entitled to say how the government should function.

The state Congress chief claimed the diktat was eased to allow the ministers to launch the campaign. 'After tomorrow's meeting, we will strictly enforce the directive. All ministers have been asked to return to Dispur the same day. They will board a Sahara flight after the rally ends.'

Kalita, too, will be in Moran for the inauguration of the Congress campaign.

The byelection to the Moran Assembly seat is slated for October 13. The Moran seat was vacated by Sarbananda Sonowal of the AGP after his election to the Lok Sabha. Over 32,000 of the 96,467-strong Moran electorate are from the tea tribes.

The chief minister reached the constituency, which is in Dibrugarh district, this afternoon after attending the wedding of his brother, Lok Sabha member Dip Gogoi, in Jorhat. Gogoi addressed party workers at a zonal training camp in Dibrugarh.

A Congress spokesperson said the relationship between the government and the party came under strain after the formation of a review committee to monitor the implementation of the party manifesto.

The formation of the committee is perceived as a noose around the government's neck. The review panel will meet on October 28.

The PCC recently asked all ministers and legislators to meet party workers during visits to the districts. This, it said, would improve the relationship between the party and the government.

'This directive has also not been fully implemented,' the spokesperson said. 'The aberration will certainly be pointed out when the co-ordination committee meets next month.'

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