The political crisis in Assam further deepened when 32 Congress MLAs led by State’s Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma quit on Monday demanding the immediate ouster of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
According to reports, the rebel Congress MLAs tendered their resignation letter to the Governor after briefing him that they had no confidence in the Tarun Gogoi’s leadership.
The development is also a major blow for Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi, who has been openly backing Gogoi and scuttled hopes of the state’s rebel leaders to effect a change of guard in Assam.
Rahul Gandhi had reiterated his support to the beleaguered Assam Chief Minister this morning and asked him to keep the rebel MLAs, who want him to be removed, under control.
Gogoi has been facing severe opposition from Congress MLAs of his cabinet after the party’s drubbing in the recent Lok Sabha elections.
The rebel party MLAs had decided to meet the Governor a day after the party high command refused to put its foot down and signalled that there was unlikely to be any change under pressure and that no deadlines could be given to the leadership.
“There is nothing in all this speculation. The high command will take a decision in the matter,” Congress spokesman Abhishek Singhvi said suggesting that the high command cannot be taken into rushing into any hasty decision.
He said this when he was asked to respond to questions whether a change of guard is likely to take place in Assam ahead of the Assembly session there early next month.
Replying to questions, he also dismissed speculation that party vice president Rahul Gandhi was not allowing any decision to be taken on the leadership issue in Assam.
He said senior leader Mallikarjun Kharge was sent there as Central Observer and his report was with the high command.
Singhvi’s remarks came at a time when dissident Congress MLAs in Assam stepped up pressure on the state party leadership, urging the high command to resolve the ongoing crisis in the state unit by the end of the present week.
The dissidents claim that 55 of the 77 Congress MLAs had demanded a change in the leadership of Tarun Gogoi though there were several other issues which they had placed before Kharge like the law and order situation and statehood demands in the state.