Dissidence 2.0: Congress braces for more revolt

Pradan Baruah hints at joining BJP, Binda Saikia-Abu Taher Bepari slam Congress leadership, Rahul Gandhi chairs closed door meet to douse fires


NEW DELHI/GUWAHATI, Sept 1: Following Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma joining the BJP, the ruling Congress party in Assam is yet again heading towards another round of dissidence in the party. Three out of nine Congress MLAs who were served show cause notices, openly slammed the Congress leadership on Tuesday even as Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi held a closed door meeting in New Delhi with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Anjan Dutta and AICC general secretary and party in-charge of Assam Dr CP Joshi.

Speaking to the media on Tuesday, Joi MLA and former parliamentary secretary Pradan Baruah who was there in the airport on August 28 to welcome Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, made it clear that he will not reply to the show cause notice served by the APCC. “I am mentally prepared to leave the Congress party. It is a well-known fact that the Congress will be defeated in the next Assembly elections,” he said, adding, “I won’t reply to the show cause notice.”

Complaining that there is no more interl democracy in the Congress party, Siphajhar MLA Bida Saikia said that there is a political conspiracy going on against him. He said, “The Congress is projecting parallel a candidate against me in Siphajhar. I am not safe in the party any more as the leadership is indulging in a political conspiracy against me.”

He further added, “The Congress is creating such an atmosphere that we leave the party on our own.” He also said that meeting Dr Sarma at the airport cannot be a crime as till that point in time, Dr Sarma was a Congress MLA and had not taken membership of the BJP.

Congress MLA Abu Taher Bepari too echoed a similar grouse. Stating that those who have issued show cause notice don’t want the Congress to be stronger, Bepari said, “Some people are using the party and the government as their hereditary property. I have served the Congress for many years and now these people have rewarded me with a show cause notice for my service.” He also added, “10-15 Congress MLAs are in regular touch with the BJP.”

Meanwhile, in a bid to take ‘damage control’ measures, AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi chaired a closed door meeting today afternoon at his residence in New Delhi. The meeting was attended by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, AICC general secretary Dr CP Joshi and APCC president Anjan Dutta.

Soon after emerging out of the meeting, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the 9 to 10 Congress MLAs who are maintaining close relations with Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma will not get any place in the Congress again. He said, “If these 9-10 MLAs leave the Congress, it will not have any impact on the party. The Congress is still strong.”

Stating that the party is fully prepared to go for assembly polls, Gogoi dared the BJP to demand earlier polls. He exuded confidence that the Congress will retain power in the State for the four consecutive term.

On being asked what would be the course of action if any of the MLAs served with show cause notices, issue an apology to the party leadership, Gogoi avoided a direct reply by saying, “It will be looked into at that point of time.”

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Sentinel Assam