Reshuffle buzz incites fresh dissidence
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, January 17: The much–talked–about “high command” culture of the Congress and the hard–built image that Congressmen are “obedient pupils” of the leadership have gone for a toss in Assam.
A fresh wave of dissidence has hit the beleaguered Congress, ahead of the likely reshuffle of the Tarun Gogoi ministry.
Those who are likely to face the axe have reportedly come together with the known Gogoi detractors and are laying the groundwork for another rebellion and this might, according to sources, sabotage the reshuffle exercise yet again.
Funny but true, the proposed reshuffle and the emerging speculations have resulted in a vertical split in the Gogoi camp.
Reports indicated that Nilamonisen Deka, Gautam Roy, Akon Bora, Tanka Bahadur Rai, Rajiv Lochan Pegu, Prati Phukan and Prithvi Majhi are among those who are likely to be dropped – most of them on the ground that the party fared poorly in their assembly segments during the last Lok Sabha elections.
But these “senior” ministers are offended at the fact that they were with Gogoi during his “testing times.” “We will see how the new entrants perform…whether they emerge better ministers than us,” said one of them. This morning, MLA Himanta Biswa Sarma held a meeting with Gautam Roy at his residence. Former MP Dwijen Sarma was also present at the closed–door meeting. Months back, Roy had overnight switched allegiance after making an unsuccessful “coup” partnering with the Himanta camp against Gogoi.
Later in the day, Nilamonisen Deka, once a close aide of the Chief Minister, had a meeting with Roy at the assembly. Deka also met Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi. Though no one was discussing the issues in public, the intentions are clear.
“I won’t say anything now. I may be dropped. I will say a lot of things then,” Deka quipped when reporters asked him what transpired in the meetings.
In the evening, APCC president Anjan Dutta went to meet Roy at his residence in an apparent bid to nip the simmering rebellion in the bud.
The mes of Dr Bhumidhar Barman and Sarat Barkataky are in the list of probables. Etuwa Munda, Girindra Mullick, Bismita Gogoi, Sumitra Patir, Sukur Ali and Chandan Sarkar are also reported to be in the list.
It is learnt that the once–Gogoi loyalists have already started a sigture campaign against the Chief Minister’s camp, primarily targeting two ministers who, they feel, are behind the reshuffle “blueprint”.
The developments are a source of new worry for the Chief Minister who is understood to have been closely watching the moves.
Gogoi had two days back indicated that the reshuffle is likely to be effected before January 26.
The Chief Minister has, meanwhile, called a meeting of the council of ministers on Monday, setting off speculations that he might ask everyone to resign that day.
The current Gogoi ministry has 14 ministers. Four berths are vacant.