Congress’s Gogoi problem and what it means for BJP in Assam

It seems there is no threat to Tarun Gogoi’s Chief Ministerial chair, at least for the time being. Congress’s Central observer to Assam Mallikarjun Kharge has presented a report to party president Sonia Gandhi on the prevailing situation in the State unit post-Lok Sabha election. Sources in the Congress maintain the Kharge report suggests that Tarun Gogoi will continue as the Chief Minister.

It is a matter of fact that the Congress high command doesn’t want to rock the boat at this point of time. An indication to this effect came when Congress president Sonia Gandhi rejected the resignation offer of Tarun Gogoi in May.

Gogoi may be breathing a sigh of relief for now. But the fact is that after their Lok Sabha election drubbing, there is a surge in the ranks of dissidents in Assam Congress to dislodge Tarun Gogoi.

There is an intense power struggle in the Assam unit of Congress. The anti-Gogoi camp, led by State Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, is busy campaigning vociferously against Gogoi. With Gogoi-bashing becoming the order of the day for leaders of the Sharma-led faction, the situation is going from bad to worse for Congress with each passing day. The matter will further worsen when Gogoi carries out a reshuffle of his three-year-long Ministry as part of his conflict resolution strategy.

With dissidents openly declaring their ‘no-confidence’ on his leadership, Tarun Gogoi is confronting the battle of his lifetime.

It is highly unlikely that the 78-year-old Gogoi — the longest serving Chief Minister of Assam after Bimala Prasad Chaliha — will be able to turn the tide in his favour. In other words, Sharma, with the first available opportunity, could turn the table in his favour after which the Congress high command wouldn’t mind dumping Gogoi for Sharma.


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