GUWAHATI, June 23 � Assam today witnessed hectic political activities with both the loyalists of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the dissidents putting in their best efforts to show their strength before All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer Mallikarjun Kharge. However, Kharge refused to make any comment before the media.
Kharge, who is the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, arrived in the city this morning and he was received by Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhubaneswar Kalita and other leaders of the party. After attending a series of meetings at the Rajiv Bhawan, Kharge started the process of meeting the legislators one by one at the Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok only after 8 pm. The process is likely to continue till late night. He will also meet legislators tomorrow morning and have talks with Chief Minister Gogoi at his official residence before flying back to New Delhi.
The legislators of both the camps started arriving at the hotel much before Kharge�s arrival from the Rajiv Bhawan, and some of them had to wait for hours to express their views before the AICC observer. Interestingly, the Chief Minister started speaking to several dissident legislators since last night, while the dissidents also kept making efforts to win over the support of a few Gogoi loyalists.
Kharge�s first formal meeting at the Rajiv Bhawan was attended by the Chief Minister, the APCC president, MPs, legislators and other office-bearers of the APCC. According to Congress sources, addressing the meeting Kharge urged all the Congressmen to work unitedly against the anti-people policies of the new Government at the Centre, including the railway fare hike. He pointed out that the Congress managed to bounce back from setbacks in the past and the party would be able to do so again. He said that from two seats in 1984, the BJP managed to gain power this time, and there was no reason why the Congress cannot bounce back. He also called upon the Congressmen to stand by the common people.
Emerging from the meeting, Chief Minister Gogoi said the meeting discussed ways to face the future after the LS poll debacle. He said there was no need for disappointment and the people had already started understanding the reality behind the promises made by Narendra Modi before the elections. He also said that the rail fare hike would result in inflation.
The second meeting that Kharge held was with the presidents of the district Congress committees as he took their opinions on the present political crisis in the State. Later he also met the heads of the frontal organisations of the Congress before returning to the hotel to start the process of talking with the legislators.
Congress sources said that on his return to New Delhi, Kharge would submit a report to the party high command on the political situation in Assam and it is for the party president to take the final decision on the demand made by the dissidents for a change of leadership.