NEW DELHI, Aug 31 - Rattled by reports of BJP preparing to woo several Congress MLAs, the AICC has summoned Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Anjan Dutta to Delhi to firm up a strategy to counter the move.
With one-time Congress strongman Himanta Biswa Sarma hinting at targeting 40 Congress MLAs, the AICC is wary about a political crisis hitting the Assam Congress. The BJP central leadership has reportedly trained its sight on the two Rajya Sabha seats that falls vacant in early 2016, ahead of the Assembly polls.
According to sources, Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has called for a meeting with the Chief Minister and PCC president following a report by general secretary-in charge for Assam, Dr CP Joshi regarding the latest political development in the State in the aftermath of Himanta Biswa Sarma quitting the party and joining the BJP. The meeting is scheduled to take place on Tuesday afternoon at Rahul Gandhi�s house.
Sources said that Himanta�s recent statement that he has submitted a list of 40 Congress MLAs to the BJP, who might switch sides, has alarmed the party high command. �Though we feel that the figure may be exaggerated, we are anxious about those MLAs who had submitted their resignation to the Governor last year along with Sarma,� sources said.
With a strength of 78 MLAs, the Tarun Gogoi Government is in a comfortable position, but partymen fear that Himanta Biswa Sarma might try to rock the Congress boat, plunging the Gogoi Government into a political crisis. The PCC president has already suspended four Congress MLAs from among 10 MLAs, who were part of the reception team that received Sarma at the airport on August 28.
As reported, last July at least 32 MLAs, including State Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had put in their papers citing lack of confidence in the Tarun Gogoi government. Sarma had questioned the internal democracy of the Congress.
The dissident camp decided to meet the Governor in the wake of the Congress leadership not bowing down to their demand for a change in the leadership in the State. The MLAs had stepped up pressure on the State party leadership, urging the high command to resolve the ongoing crisis in the State unit within a week.
With Himanta not resigning from his Assembly seat, the role of the Speaker of the Assembly would become very crucial, sources said.
Sources pointed out that the BJP Central leadership keen on augmenting its strength in the Rajya Sabha, and the party may try to corner at least one seat from the Congress. With the BPF with its 12 MLAs not on its side and the possibility of AIUDF and other Opposition parties coming to an understanding on backing a common candidate, the going may get tough for the ruling party.