GUWAHATI, June 24 � The All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer Mallikarjun Kharge today returned to New Delhi after hearing the views of the legislators and Congress office bearers and now it is up to the party high command to take the final decision on the issue of change of leadership of the Assam Congress Legislature Party (ACLP).
State Congress sources told The Assam Tribune that as many as 73 legislators of the party including the Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and other Ministers made their submissions before Kharge since last evening. One legislator could not make it to Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok and he sent a letter with his views, while, two others are out of station and they would soon meet Kharge in New Delhi soon to express their views.
Sources said that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi met Kharge at the hotel this morning for talks for around 50 minutes, while, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Bhubaneswar Kalita and Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma also held detailed talks with the AICC observer. The other legislators were just asked their views on change of leadership and whom they wanted as the next leader.
Sources revealed that the office bearers of the APCC and the presidents of the district Congress committees were also allowed to submit their views. Apart from Lakhimpur, the presidents of all the other district committees of the APCC made it to the hotel to submit their views on the issue.
Though it is not known how many of the legislators gave their opinion in favour of change of leadership, the dissident camp claimed that at least 55 legislators called for change of leadership, while, a few office bearers of the APCC expressed the view that Bhubaneswar Kalita should be the new leader of the ACLP. Some APCC office bearers and DCC presidents also said that a few Ministers were holding the same portfolio since 2001 and they failed to live up to the expectations of the people of the State.
However, at the same time, sources said that the main aim of yesterday�s exercise by Kharge was not selecting a new leader. If the party high command decides to go for a change of leadership, a meeting of the ACLP would have to be convened to select a new leader. But yesterday�s exercise was to ascertain whether majority of the legislators want change of leadership, sources added.
Meanwhile, talking to his correspondent, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the legislators were satisfied with the visit of Kharge and they are hoping that the party high command would take the final decision soon.