Assam CM losing grip
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For 12 long years, Tarun Gogoi was not only the undisputed leader of the Congress party in Assam, but also a chief minister who had not a single finger pointed against him. But this week when he announced that the AICC had cleared a proposal for an alliance with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the balloon suddenly burst.
At least 14 of the party's 79 legislators, instead of remaining present in a crucial Congress Legislature Party (CLP) meeting in Guwahati, landed up attending a foundation stone laying ceremony of a polytechnic institute at Dhekiajuli in Sonitpur district, clearly defying the party whip. And, on Monday, as the state budget session took off, there was news that the gang of 14 had expanded and was secretly up in arms to oust Gogoi.
The developments were so quick that Gogoi immediately directed some of his confidants to launch a signature campaign, one which was intended at isolating his detractors but which actually boomeranged. Several others who were not part of the gang that was apparently headed by Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma but were known as loyal to Gogoi, even went live saying they would rather "sink" than put their signatures. As for Sarma, he had already created quite a flutter last year when he had openly said he was dreaming of becoming the chief minister, to which Gogoi had to react, asking legislators and ministers not to indulge in dreaming but to work for the people.
With number of legislators who were unwilling to sign in favour of Gogoi swelling, the chief minister, who rushed to Delhi on Friday, had to finally order a halt to the signature campaign itself. But, while the proposed alliance with the AIUDF was only one flashpoint that triggered off the dissidence (which Gogoi wants to quell by calling it a drama), it is also a fact that some leaders — like Sarma — within the Congress are indeed getting restless especially after the chief minister introduced his son Gaurav to politics with clear indications that Gogoi Junior would contest the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
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