GUWAHATI, July 17 � Throwing the �final� salvo, the MLAs of the dissident group today set a deadline of July 19 for the Congress high command to respond to the demand for removal of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, even as the Gogoi loyalists hit back, demanding suspension of the dissident MLAs for taking such a stand which, they said, was against the Congress culture.
The MLAs of the Gogoi camp said that the Congress being a high command-based party, it is the duty of every Congressman to respect the AICC�s decision on any issue.
It is rumoured that the dissident MLAs are exploring a number of options to dislodge Gogoi after AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi threw his weight behind the three-time Chief Minister.
Meanwhile, early this morning, Chief Minister Gogoi told the media on the sidelines of a function that he is not going to resign.
In what appears to be the final bout between the camps led by Gogoi and Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, a section of the dissident MLAs including Binanda Saikia, Bidya Singh Engleng, Dr Mansing Rangpi and Pradan Baruah told mediapersons this morning that it was unfortunate that no decision on the grievances expressed by the MLAs has been taken as yet.
�Even after senior Congress leader Mallikarjun Kharge took account of the grievances of the MLAs in a democratic manner on June 23, the high command has not acted upon it till now, which has put us and the party as a whole in a poor light,� Pradan Baruah rued.
�We will wait till Saturday and if the AICC does not respond to our grievances then we would announce something big on Monday,� Pradan Baruah told newsmen.
The dissident group led by Himanta Biswa Sarma has been demanding Tarun Gogoi�s removal, citing poor governance in the last couple of years. Once a close aide of the Chief Minister, Sarma has been spearheading the dissidents� group for the last couple of years.
Thowra MLA Sushanta Buragohain and Nazira MLA Debabrata Saikia, who are known as Gogoi loyalists, condemned the decision to set a deadline for the AICC and said that at no cost should a Congressman defy the AICC�s decision.
�The high command has so far decided to stick with Gogoi as the Chief Minister and so be it. The party has in place a mechanism to oversee the affairs in each state and Assam is no exception. The AICC secretary in-charge must have given his feedback to the high command. Those defying the high command�s decision should be sacked from the party,� Sushanta Buragohain said.
The Gogoi loyalists are of the opinion that the strength of the dissident camp is shrinking with a section of them not willing to be guided by any individualistic approach and instead wanted to work in their constituency by staying in the party ambit.