Quell Re­volt or Per­ish: So­nia to Go­goi

The Economic Times - - Pure Politics - CL MANOJ

Congress pres­i­dent So­nia Gandhi and her deputy Rahul Gandhi on Thurs­day granted the wish of be­lea­guered As­sam CM Tarun Go­goi to have a last chance to keep his po­si­tion as well as try and quell a rag­ing re­bel­lion by a large sec­tion of party MLAs against his lead­er­ship. While the All In­dia Congress Com­mit­tee is closely watch­ing how Go­goi would be deal­ing with the ex­tra time al­lot­ted to him, the high com­mand is also work­ing on a back-up plan in case rebels refuse to buy peace with the CM. Sens­ing Go­goi’s plot to buy time, rebel leader Hi­manta Biswa Sarma is claim­ing more sup­port for him and is threat­en­ing to bring a no-con­fi­dence mo­tion against the Go­goi govern­ment. The cen­tral lead­er­ship is ex­tra cau­tious in deal­ing with the power-strug­gleinAs­sam­a­sit­thinks­the­out­comein the NE state could have a cas­cad­ing ef­fect on four other Congress-ruled states – Kar­nataka, Ma­ha­rash­tra, Haryana, and Ut­tarak­hand. Though Go­goi came to Delhi on Wed­nes­day af­ter an­nounc­ing his de­sire to quit by own­ing up the moral re­sponsi

bility for the party’s poll rout amid a ma­jor­ity of party MLAs turn­ing against him, the vet­eran Congress leader adopted a dif­fer­ent tac­ti­cal ap­proach by the time he met the party chief on Thurs­day evening. He re­quested her to give him the po­lit­i­cal room to deal with the re­bel­lion. Ac­cord­ing to sources, Go­goi made this re­quest to the party boss af­ter he ex­pressed con­fi­dence in deal­ing with the cri­sis back home dur­ing meet­ings with AICC lead­ers in­clud­ing Ah­mad Pa­tel, CP Joshi and Motilal Vora.

Af­ter meet­ing So­nia Gandhi, Go­goi re­fused to speak to the me­dia. But his s up­por t e r a nd s t at e min­is­ter Nilo­mani Sen Deka said the Congress chief “has out­right re­jected” Go­goi’s of­fer to re­sign. Se­nior MLA Anjan Dutta said Gandhi has given Go­goi a free hand to re­vamp the party or­gan­i­sa­tion in the state and as the first step he will reshuf­fle his min­istry af­ter June 1, when he will com­plete three years in of­fice in his third term. Some state min­is­ters and Congress MLAs turned up to sup­port Go­goi.

Ac­cord­ing to sources, Go­goi told the high com­mand that the rebels were in­dulging only in black-mail­ing tac­tics and claimed the num­bers of other op­po­si­tion par­ties in the as­sem­bly was not enough to help them prop up an al­ter na­tive gover nment. He thinks a ma­jor­ity of MLAs would be wary of fac­ing an early as­sem­bly poll and, there­fore, they would not rock his govern­ment. Go­goi told the high com­mand that he had been seek­ing the sup­port of the AICC to firmly deal with Sarma for some time and had he been al­lowed to have his way, he could have de­fused the re­bel­lion long ago.

While the high com­mand has, for the time be­ing, given Go­goi what he wanted, it is still wary of the re­bel­lion go­ing out of con­trol, es­pe­cially when an NDA govern­ment is about to as­sume of­fice at the Cen­tre. Sources said the AICC, while try­ing to en­gage the rebels, has also called in state Congress chief Bhu­manesh­war Kalita to stand by and give his as­sess­ment of the sit­u­a­tion. Some in the Congress also see Kalita as a po­ten­tial com­pro­mise can­di­date to suc­ceed Go­goi if his ef­forts to sur­vive fail.

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