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Confusion over election of State PCC chief

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Aug 17 � Confusion marks the election of the new president of Assam Congress, as a section of partymen have advocated holding up of the process in Assam till the return of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Sudden urgency to go ahead with the stalled election process has gripped partymen after the Congress Working Committee (CWC) on Monday finalised the schedule for the elections of the Congress president and State party chiefs.

Jnanardan Dwivedi said the elections would be notified on August 27 and the last date of filing nominations is September 2. The date of polling is September 17 and the counting of votes and declaration of results will take place on September 21. Election of Congress president Sonia Gandhi on September 21 will be a mere formality. It will be her fourth term in a row.

Hectic activity was witnessed here as anxious Congressmen met senior AICC leaders. A delegation led by Kirip Chaliha met General Secretary Oscar Fernandes in-charge of elections to ascertain the status.

Fernandes reportedly conveyed that election process of State chiefs would continue as scheduled and a new party chief is expected to be elected as slated. In other words, the process would go ahead, even as Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi continues to recuperate in hospital.

In Assam, the 270-odd PCC representatives that comprise the Electoral College have been elected though elections of PCC president and treasurer have remained stalled. In the Parliament, State MPs looked concerned and were seen enquiring about the State party election.

Meanwhile, State PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita has said that the election of the State chief was linked with election of the Congress president.

The State PCC only needs to send the list of elected PCC members to AICC ahead of the election, Kalita was quoted as saying. Kalita himself a strong contender for the post is playing his cards carefully, though the partymen are waiting for a word from the ailing Chief Minister to firm up their strategy.

When contacted, Kalita said they were waiting for further instructions from the AICC on the election of the State PCC chief. He said whatever rules apply for the elections of other State PCC chiefs would be applicable for Assam PCC chief�s election.

Organisational polls of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee began on July 1. Elections to booth committees, new block committees and district committees were held on July 21. An estimated 9 lakh Congress leaders and workers took part in the election process.

Meanwhile, AICC has decided to order an inquiry into the allegation against APRO J Thukral after the Congress High Command was flooded with complaints from Assam

Several senior leaders of the party, MPs, ex-MPs have given written complaints against Thukral for bungling in the organisational elections. The State PRO Subash Chopra has also not escaped the wrath of the angry partymen. They alleged connivance between the duo to show undue favour.

Lakhimpur MP Ranee Narah has lodged a strong complaint against Thukral with the Congress president and Oscar Fernandes. �I am totally dismayed at what has happened in the name of election. Rules were totally flouted to favour particular Congress leader,� she alleged.

Kirip Chaliha also lodged a complaint for withholding his election, as did several other Congressmen. Chaliha said he has cancelled all his plans to return to the State and fight out the �injustice� shown to him.

The Congress MP for the last couple of days was deliberating on the role of the APRO and PRO and is contemplating to jointly move the High Command. The Congressmen hinted that the party elections saw the most blatant use of money power considered unprecedented.

Fearing a strong reprisal from angry partymen, Fernandes, who has been reluctant to act against the duo, has today conveyed to a delegation that an inquiry is being ordered.

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