GUWAHATI, Dec 23 - The State Congress today held a high-level meeting, which was attended by four secretaries of the All India Congress Committee (AICC), to formulate the party�s strategy for the 2021 Assembly polls.
Congress MLA from Golaghat constituency Ajanta Neog, who has been under spotlight after reports surfaced about her likely defection to the BJP, did not attend the meeting.
Newly appointed AICC secretaries for Assam � Anirudh Singh, Vikas Upadhyay, Prithviraj Prabhakar Sathe and Aditya Sharma � flew down from New Delhi to participate in the meeting, which went for over four hours.
Congress MLAs, MPs and other senior office-bearers were present.
After the event, Congress leaders expressed optimism about coming to power in Dispur in the 2021 Assembly polls.
Three of the party�s sitting MLAs were absent, including Neog. The other two legislators who did not attend the meeting were Jamal Uddin Ahmed of Badarpur constituency, who is undergoing hospitalization, and Sukur Ali Ahmed of Chenga constituency, whose father is unwell.
Asked about Neog during the press conference held after the meeting, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora said, �She did not come for today�s meeting. Neog had expressed her inability to attend. She had earlier suffered from COVID-19. And now she is having some post-COVID issues. She is not well.�
Addressing the media, AICC secretary Vikas Upadhyay accused the BJP of being �expert� in spreading rumours.
�Nobody is quitting. The BJP is an expert in misleading the people and spreading rumours. That trend is visible across India. The BJP tried the same in Rajasthan, but failed. All our MLAs are united,� he said.
Asked about the likelihood of Neog crossing over to the BJP, Upadhyay said, �Have you got any picture or video to prove that she has joined the BJP? Today Ajanta Neog was absent and the APCC president has explained the reason. Everything will become clear in the coming days.�
He also claimed that there is no dissidence within the party.
When pointed out that some senior members and MLAs have displayed a tendency of criticizing the APCC president in public, Upadhyay said, �Today, we have spoken one-to-one with everybody. Nobody has any complaints. All are united and committed to strengthening the party.�
He said the final decision regarding stitching up an alliance for the 2021 polls will be taken by the party high command.
Asked about the AICC survey to gauge public opinion regarding alliance with AIUDF, he said, �That is a routine process.�
Upadhyay said the Congress will highlight before the masses what he termed as the BJP government�s failures.
�We will get majority (in 2021 polls). This time Congress will form the government in Assam,� he added.