GUWAHATI, May 25 - After he relinquished office following a decade-and-a-half at the helm of affairs in Dispur, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today accepted responsibility for the Congress party�s debacle in the recent Assembly polls and apologised to the people for not being able to fulfil their aspiration.
�Yes, I am responsible (for the defeat). I cannot comment about Anjan Dutta. But as the leader I am responsible,� Gogoi said addressing a press conference here.
He was replying to a query about his responsibility for the party�s poor performance which saw the tally of the grand old party coming down from 78 to 26 in the Assembly.
�We will analyse the reason behind our defeat and find out the mistakes and go back to the people with renewed vigour. We must have committed some mistakes. We apologise to the people for that. We will now strengthen and rejuvenate the party,� Gogoi said.
Gogoi said the situation this time was similar to 1985 when the AGP had come to power. �The issue of foreigners had played the main role then and the same thing has happened this time as well. The AGP had benefited that time and now it is BJP,� said the former Chief Minister.
He added that the BJP was able to �exploit the sentiment� of the voters of Assam by means of propaganda which tried to show that the very existence of the Assamese people and Hindus in Assam was at stake.
He said the Congress took major steps in initiating the NRC updating process and also on fencing of the India-Bangladesh border. �However, we were not able to counter the way RSS presented the entire issue,� Gogoi said.
He said that despite the huge fall in the number of its MLAs this time, the Congress has managed to secure 31 per cent of the votes, as compared to 29 per cent by the BJP on its own and 41 per cent overall by the BJP-led alliance.
�In 2011, we got 39 per cent votes. This time it decreased from that, but increased from what we got in 2014 Lok Sabha polls. We are thankful to the people for giving us the opportunity to serve them for 15 years. We tried our best. We succeeded in many fronts and also failed at some others. The people have given us the mandate to sit in the opposition and we will play the role of a constructive opposition and extend all help to the government,� Gogoi said.
Gogoi said that he has no plans to retire from active politics and added that the Congress will now prepare itself for 2019 Lok Sabha elections. He added that Congress will oppose any attempt by the new State government to shift the base year for updation of the NRC.