Whither Assam Speaker
Will Assam Assembly Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi be shown the door by a furious Congress high command, as is being hotly speculated in political circles in the State? Ever since the Speaker submitted his report on the ‘Assamese’ definition to the House, it seems the die was cast. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, PCC chief Anjan Dutta and other senior Congress leaders made their displeasures known in no uncertain times, deriding the Speaker’s endeavour as a ‘persol’ one. The Speaker too hit back, questioning the political motives and votebank anxieties of his detractors. It now appears their war of words has crossed the point of no return. After Tarun Gogoi and Anjan Dutta went to Delhi ostensibly to get the top leadership’s seal of approval to ministry expansion and the four members to be inducted, there were reports that the Speaker’s issue too featured highly in their agenda. When their return to Guwahati was immediately followed by Prab Kumar Gogoi’s departure to Delhi, it is being surmised that he was summoned by Congress president Sonia Gandhi. The me of a Congress leader as the next likely Speaker is now making the rounds in Rajiv Bhawan and Dispur. The known political rivalry between Anjan Dutta and Prab Kumar Gogoi, both from Sivasagar town, goes back a long way — becoming especially bitter after Dutta’s defeat in the 2006 Assembly elections. However, Prab Kumar Gogoi was known to enjoy Tarun Gogoi’s trust for a long time, being entrusted with important portfolios in the first two Congress terms. But their relations took a nosedive after Prab Kumar Gogoi briefly attended a meeting of Congress dissidents. Thus a vital issue like the ‘Assamese’ definition, seems to have unfortutely fallen victim to interl political conflict as much as votebank calculations.