WHAT JOSHI SAID
“No senior leader of the party or even Rahul Gandhi offered Himanta any such post. The rumour is baseless. As a senior leader of the party, I met him to discuss party related issues only”
WHAT HIMANTA SAID
“As I had been a minister for the past 12 years or so, I don’t have any fascition for the post. I am satisfied with what I am doing now. I want to serve the party like a common worker”
BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, January 12: Former influential State Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who went into a hiatus last year by resigning from the Tarun Gogoi–led Cabinet following a failed dissidence attempt, has again become a matter of discussion with the news of Congress high command ‘offering’ him the coveted post of deputy chief minister doing the rounds.
Although the Congress high command and other senior leaders of the party based in New Delhi and Guwahati have denied the rumour, Assam Pradesh Congress (APC) in–charge CP Joshi’s meeting with Sarma at his official residence on Sunday over breakfast has triggered a flurry of speculation that the dissident camp boss has been offered the post.
Talking to reporters at Borjhar airport before leaving for the tiol capital, Joshi, along with the newly elected APC president Anjan Dutta and State Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain, denied the report that Himanta Biswa Sarma was offered such a post by the party high command.
APC president Dutta said that the news was totally baseless and termed it propaganda floated by the anti–Gogoi camp.
Sources said that the lobby, which was in favour of the former health and education minister, was desperately trying to rake up the issue and said that Joshi had met Sarma at the latter’s official residence only to offer him the post of deputy chief minister.
However, Joshi said, “No senior leader of the party or even Rahul Gandhi offered Himanta any such post. The rumour is baseless. As a senior leader of the party, I met him to discuss party related issues only.”
When the dissidence activities were at its peak in the State, the post of deputy chief minister was reportedly offered to Himanta Biswa Sarma by the party high command but it somehow didn’t materialize.
But now, the question is: Why has Joshi met Himanta only leaving other senior leaders of the party? Sources quoting the Gogoi camp said that Joshi had a soft corner for Himanta.
On the other hand, State Congress president Dutta made it clear that there was no dissidence in the party. “Dissidence is a past thing. Our main aim is the 2016 Assembly elections. But we will not spare anybody (junior or senior member) if he or she breaks party discipline.”
On this issue, when Himanta Biswa Sarma was asked by reporters, he said, “As I had been a minister for the past 12 years or so, I don’t have any fascition for the post. I am satisfied with what I am doing now. I want to serve the party like a common worker.”