By our Staff Reporter
GUWAHATI, Sept 6: They say a stitch in time saves nine, but the Congress in Assam stitches only after its support base frays fast at the edges.
After three-time former minister in Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s Cabinets Himanta Biswa Sarma deserting the party and ten of his loyalists hot footing it out, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Anjan Dutta has today interacted with senior leaders of the party so as to keep the party in order. The meeting is essentially a damage-control measure and to instil confidence among the party leaders and cadres after the setback.
In a statement issued to the press today, APCC secretary Rhitupor Konwar said that the meeting was held to elicit the opinion of senior leaders for preparing the roadmap for the Assembly elections slated for 2016. However, if the press statement is believed to be what has been discussed at today’s meeting, it is certain that the issue of Himanta Biswa Sarma deserting the Congress has overshadowed all other issues for which the meeting was convened.
Presided over by Dutta, the meeting was attended by over 200 senior leaders, including former minister Hemoprava Saikia, Debanda Konwar, Paban Singh Ghatowar, Dr. Bhumidhar Barman and Sarat Barkataky, Rajya Sabha MPs Pankaj Bora, znin Faruque and a host of former district presidents, former MPs and MLAs. The senior Congressmen highlighted the areas of focus for the party to make it people friendly and strengthening the party from the grassroots.
In his speech, Ghatowar said that the ten MLAs who left the Congress are ‘real life villains who have been acting so far like good celluloid heroes’. He said that ‘such unprincipled persons do not have any place in the Congress’.
Former minister Siddique Ahmed said that Himanta Biswa Sarma was actually leading the dissidents to fulfill his persol agenda and used ministers and MLAs like him as tools in his political tirade against the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader which they could not decipher earlier. “Now it is crystal clear that Dr. Himanta Biswa Sarma has defected to BJP fearing action against his involvement in the Saradha and Louis Berger cases,” he said.
All India Congress Committee general secretary C.P. Joshi said: “The country is passing through a very delicate stage under the unitary administration of Prime Minister rendra Modi.”