Congress in Assam decides to dump its internal squabble

GUWAHATI: With aggressive campaign unleashed by BJP's prime ministerial candidate, Narendra Modi and the Saffron party gaining major foot hold in Congress stronghold of Upper Assam area, Congress in Assam has decided to dump its internal squabble till the Lok Sabha polls next year.

AICC has asked the leaders of both the pro chief minister, Tarun Gogoi faction and those opposing him to patch up and present a united front in the Lok Sabha as the party is hugely banking in the state to get maximum seats.

But there is still six month left before the country goes to poll and strict stricter from party high command, ambitious leaders of congress are forced to keep their house in order. Congress in Assam is in power for third consecutive term and dissidence in the party has significantly dented the party's image.

A senior leader in the party who does not want to be quoted said," Congress in Assam has a problem of plenty as the party won 79 seats in 126 member assembly in 2011 and all cannot be ministers. For the time being the fire is doused, however fire will erupt again as the dissatisfied lot will be always there."

In last one and half year Congress leaders in Assam were fragmented and were seen tongue lashing each other in the public, creating serious doubts about the prospects of the party in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls.

Several party leaders where running to New Delhi at every pretext to meet party leadership. Around 32 MLAs most of them opposed to Gogoi's style of functioning has sought special congress legislature party (CLP) meeting.

The emotionally surcharged three hour long meeting was held on Saturday, where leaders decided to bury their differences and prepare for the Lok Sabha.

Gogoi said, "We need to give Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi at least 14 seats in the Lok Sabha polls. We will have CLP meeting every three months from now on wards.". Congress won 7 Lok Seats in last election.

Even in the CLP meeting, some leaders sought reshuffle in the state council on ministers as new MLAs will get a chance. Gogoi has recently ruled out reshuffle in his cabinet and stated that he will do the same when it is dim fit.

For now the 10 Janpath is convinced about the leadership of Gogoi and his authority in the party can be well gauged from the fact AICC general secretary in-charge for Assam, Dr CP Joshi choose to remain away from much hyped CLP meeting.

Gogoi has stated, " I have invited Joshi to meeting however Joshi refused to come and asked me to accomplish the task."

Throwing tough challenge to congress, BJP is gaining grounds and has done well in the autonomous council and corporation elections held recently. The party has put up a good show in the pachayat polls held this year. The party has made major inroads in oil and tea rich Upper Assam areas which is congress bastion.

Congress party has also decided to form a five member panel to look into the grievances of the MLAs. Political analyst views this development as political exigency enforced by the party from New Delhi

Leader of dissident camp, health minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma said, "The chief minister has heard from the MLAs and has assured to take necessary measures. Party leaders won't criticize each other any more and we will criticize Modi."