GUWAHATI, May 21 � More trouble awaits the beleaguered Congress high command with dissident MLAs of Assam set to trigger a collapse of the Tarun Gogoi-led Government if their demand for a change in leadership is not accepted in a week�s time.
�The Government will collapse in seven days if the change in leadership is not endorsed by the party high command,� a senior leader of the dissident group told The Assam Tribune in an exclusive interview.
On being quizzed whether formation of a new political party is one of the options kept open, he said, �We (MLAs/Ministers) can go to any extent if the high command remains indifferent to our issues.�
Interestingly however, Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has been the voice for the dissidents for the past one year, told this reporter that he is not in the race for the post of Chief Minister.
�I am not in the race. Whenever time comes, I will become Chief Minister only with popular mandate. But yes, I want an acceptable face to run the Government. Somebody who can function efficiently taking all the MLAs and party members together,� Sarma said.
The memorandum demanding Gogoi�s ouster and reportedly signed by 45 dissident MLAs, was supposed to reach Congress president Sonia Gandhi this evening. The memorandum has proposed four names for the post of Chief Minister.
A senior member of the dissident group has also confided that if the Congress high command turns down their proposal, the disgruntled MLAs will move the Governor, withdrawing their support, something which will automatically force the end of the Government at Dispur.
�About 10 MLAs of the Congress are strongly contemplating joining the Bharatiya Janata Party. We have to restore faith in them and that can only happen if the party high command endorses the change in leadership,� sources said.
�Change in leadership is imminent,� he added.
Ask if the pro-Chief Minister MLAs will create trouble for the new Chief Minister if at all the situation arises, the senior Congressman said, �Only five or six MLAs are with the Chief Minister just to save their seats. They would not matter in any way. �