BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, July 19: At a time when the Congress is gearing up to annoint Rahul Gandhi as party president, Congress legislator from Mariani Rupjyoti Kurmi today staged a hunger strike outside the party's State headquarters here, appealing to party president Sonia Gandhi to take the initiative of bringing daughter Priyanka Gandhi Vadra to lead the grand old party in the country.
Expressing concern over the drubbing the party received in 2014 Lok Sabha elections and in assembly polls thereafter including Assam this year, Kurmi demanded that Priyanka should enter active politics and lead the Congress from the front.
His slogan ''Priyanka lao Congress bachao' (Bring Priyanka, save Congress)" echoed at Rajiv Bhawan today.
The then ruling Congress mage to secure just three seats from Assam in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, while its number of seats in Assam assembly dwindled to 26 after the assembly polls reverse this year. The current strength of the party now stands at 25 with party legislator Man Singh Rongpi recently resigning from MLA post to join the BJP.
"We got a drubbing in the 2014 Lok Sabha elections, securing just three seats. The performance of our party in the assembly polls this year was also very poor. Our current strength in the assembly is only 25 as one MLA has deserted us. But it is not a matter of shame or pain, rather it should be a matter of introspection. Why have we suffered such humiliating defeats - we need to introspect on that," Kurmi told reporters.
Blaming AICC general secretary and the party's Assam in-charge CP Joshi for the defeat, Kurmi demanded his removal from the charge of Assam.
"Wrong selection of candidates for the assembly polls is one of the main reasons behind the defeat of the party. Joshi is responsible for that. So he should be removed from the charge of Assam and a senior leader should be given responsibility," said the Mariani legislator.
He further said that to boost the morale of party workers, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi should visit the State and hold talks with party candidates who contested the assembly polls this year.
"Two months have elapsed since the results of assembly polls were declared but no AICC leader has visited the State to discuss the poor performance of the party in the polls," he said. Kurmi has sent a letter to the party chief with these demands.
The Mariani MLA broke his hunger strike after former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and CLP leader Debabrata Saikia met him and facilitated talks with AICC leaders over phone.