The Telegraph
Friday , March 22 , 2013
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gogoi lashes out at leaders

- Trouble blamed on a ‘few’ in AICC

Guwahati, March 21: A plainspeaking Tarun Gogoi is understood to have directly blamed a “few AICC leaders” for fanning trouble within the CLP during a meeting with party vice-president Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi last evening.

Congress sources today told The Telegraph that during the course of discussion on the dissension within the CLP over his style of functioning, a “bold” Gogoi did not mince words when responding to the accusation that he had created problems for himself by encouraging few of the young faces who had now allegedly turned against him.

While owning up that he had backed the efficient young men in the greater interest of the party, Gogoi, the sources said, hit back at a “few” AICC leaders for working against the party by fanning dissidence against him.

The chief minister, the sources said, even went to the extent of saying that this group had stopped him from accepting cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s resignation last August.

Sarma is seen to be the man leading the anti-Gogoi camp, a group of which had moved the AICC against the functioning of the Gogoi government.

Though the sources have not named the AICC leaders, it is understood that Gogoi is unhappy with the roles being played by AICC general secretary in-charge of Assam Digvijaya Singh, among others. Singh, who was present in the meeting, could not be contacted for comment.

Sources said Rahul Gandhi had a one-to-one with Gogoi, whose forceful arguments had left Singh and the others dazed.

A group of MPs had also told Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday that the goings-on in Assam were not good despite Singh and DoNER minister Paban Singh Ghatowar stating otherwise.

Singh had yesterday told The Telegraph that the problem within the CLP was “nothing serious” — a remark that suggested that Gogoi was firmly in the saddle.

Sources said the chief minister’s seniority, loyalty to the Gandhi family — which Gogoi asserted in his news conference after a meeting with Sonia Gandhi in New Delhi today — his enviable electoral track record and popularity will see him in the chair at least till the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

However, the last has not yet been heard of the ongoing dissidence, given the posturing of the equally confident anti-Gogoi camp, which told this correspondent that things in Delhi had “progressed as anticipated” and that the number of irked legislators could rise to around 50 when Singh comes calling on April 4.

Already 31 Congress legislators have signed the memorandum submitted to Singh complaining about the functioning of the Gogoi government, the sources said.

Rekibuddin Ahmed, one of the five legislators who is said to have met Singh in Delhi, today needled parliamentary affairs minister and chief whip Nilamani Sen Deka, who had directed legislators not to speak to the media on intra-party issues, for doing so himself. “Those who have issued the directive should also abide by it,” Ahmed said.

Deka, seen to be close to Gogoi, did not react.

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