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APCC to expel 5 senior members

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, July 9 - A day after attending a conciliatory meeting chaired by AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi, the Assam Congress has decided to expel five senior members, including an ex-MP and three-time MLA from the party.

Sources said that PCC president Anjan Dutta has initiated the move in consultation with concerned AICC leaders, including general in-charge Dr CP Joshi, besides Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Dutta�s action follows a direction by Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday, when he reportedly suggested that PCC should adopt a zero tolerance policy against party indiscipline.

Encouraged by the diktat, Dutta on Thursday finalised plans to expel former MP Bolin Kuli, three-time MLA Hiranya Bora, Rana Khan, Adil Shah and Diganta Kalita. Interestingly, Hiranya Bora and Kalita have already quit the party.

Diganta Kalita is purportedly close to Himanta Biswa Sarma and belongs to his camp.

Sources said that Dutta has since yesterday met Dr Joshi at least twice, general secretary Janardhan Dwivedi, besides holding consultations with the Chief Minister. Formal orders for their expulsion are yet to be issued though, sources said.

All the five Congress leaders were issued showcause notices by Dutta for criticising the party president and indulging in alleged anti-party activities.

Hiranya Bora, meanwhile, has already made known his plans to float a new regional party with the support of a few like-minded Congressmen.

Meanwhile, sources in the AICC said that the meeting with the Chief Minister, APCC president and Sarma was �fruitful� and yet another meeting is being lined up as a follow up when Rahul Gandhi visits Assam next month after the Monsoon Session of Parliament.

Sources said that all the three State leaders were encouraged to have a �free and frank� discussion to ensure that the differences could be narrowed down. The AICC is also mulling to give some major responsibility to Sarma ahead of the polls in consultation with the Chief Minister.

Sources said that AICC would like to wait for some time and see how the situation develops in the coming weeks. The party is anxious by reports that Sarma might split the Congress party in Assam despite the claims by the State leadership that he does not enjoy support of more than five-six MLAs.

Sarma on his part yesterday told newsmen that he has been part of every election in the State since 2001 and would continue to play a role in the 2016 Assembly polls.

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