NEW DELHI, Sep 1 � Even as Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi initiated the steps to get into the election mode in Assam, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today warned of stern action against all the nine MLAs who belong to Himanta Biswa Sarma�s camp.
The Chief Minister�s warning came after his two-hour meeting with Rahul Gandhi here this afternoon that saw the AICC vice president discuss plans about forming vital committees like the campaign, manifesto and election committees.
The Congress is also planning action against Himanta Biswa Sarma and the party is going to move Assam Assembly Speaker Pranab Gogoi shortly to disqualify Sarma under the anti-defection law. The Assam Congress party�s decision has been endorsed by the AICC, sources said.
Gogoi also confirmed that the meeting discussed Himanta Biswa Sarma�s sudden defection to the BJP, dismissing the rebel MLA�s action as inevitable. �If he does not do it now, when will he do it? He cannot possibly leave the party just before the elections,� the Chief Minister argued.
A visibly relaxed-looking Gogoi told newsmen after the meeting, which was also attended by APCC president Anjan Dutta and the AICC general secretary in-charge of Assam, Dr CP Joshi, among others, that they discussed the election strategy for the forthcoming Assembly polls.
�We discussed election matters. Though such discussions have taken place in the past also, this time these have been held a little early. Preliminary discussions took place about the formation of these committees, but names were not finalised today.
�We have conveyed that no MLAs, barring those 10, are going to leave the party. We have been saying that the fight is not over party matters, but ideology. Our fight is over ideology,� Gogoi said.
The Chief Minister took a dig at the BJP, stating that if the saffron party feels that the Modi factor does not work in Assam and only Himanta will work, then it is up to that party to decide. �If Rajen Gohain and Sarbananda Sonowal have surrendered saying that they have failed, what can I say,� Gogoi said.
�The BJP cannot pull down my government. I say hundred per cent they cannot do it. If they can do it, what is stopping them,� Gogoi asked.
�We are not going to take those MLAs who have been suspended and also others who are with Himanta. But we have to complete the process of issuing showcause notices. They have to be also given a chance to explain their position. But we are not going to accept them in the party,� he said.
�We are not going to take them back. Their departure will not affect the party. I still enjoy the majority,� the Chief Minister claimed.
�I have said this earlier also, there will be a fight. But the BJP in Assam will not win any significant number of votes. The BJP-led NDA Government at the Centre has neglected Assam. It has not given us funds for floods and the construction of national highways. On the contrary, it has deducted funds from the backward region scheme and done away with the Special Category status, which Assam enjoyed, and failed to create new employment,� Gogoi said.
�The BJP has been doing injustice to Assam. Even today I wrote a letter, protesting against the cancellation of Central schemes. What we are hearing now is that all these schemes and special status have been done away with,� Gogoi added. He also took a potshot at Modi for withdrawing the Land Bill in the face of protest from the Congress party.
�What is happening in Gujarat has shown us that due to the closure of small industries, lakhs of people have suffered. We have not seen such resentment anywhere in the past like in Gujarat,� Gogoi said.
�Despite all these injustices done to Assam, I cannot explain it if people still vote for the BJP,� the Chief Minister added.
Meanwhile, Anjan Dutta said that the discussion centred around the forthcoming Assembly elections, and that the AICC would soon announce the campaign manifesto and government-MLA coordination committees. The meeting also discussed the action to be taken against the MLAs who have extended support to Sarma.