GUWAHATI, July 18 - The inclusion of former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in the newly constituted Congress Working Committee (CWC), the highest decision-making body of the party, is not only acknowledgment of the veteran leader�s indispensability for the grand old party, but also reaffirms his pre-eminent position among party leaders in the North East.
Congress sources told this newspaper that inclusion of Gogoi in the CWC proves that the former three-time Chief Minister remains the most important leader of the party in Assam and the North East for the party �high command�.
�This is the first CWC constituted by Rahul Gandhi since he took over as president of our party. Gogoi is one of the six former Congress chief ministers who have been made members of the body. This shows the importance given by the party high command to Gogoi,� a senior Congress leader told The Assam Tribune.
He added, �While loyalty is no doubt a factor, the fact that Gogoi was able to perform and give results to the party by winning the State three times in succession is also a reason for his induction into the CWC. This also shows that Gandhi realises the value of Gogoi and has faith in his ability to revive the Congress party in Assam and the North East.�
The Congress leader said that Gogoi, despite losing the 2016 Assembly polls to the BJP, continues to be the most �visible figure� for the Congress in Assam and also the most influential leader in the State.
Gandhi had yesterday constituted the new CWC. While Gogoi has been included in the 23-member CWC, his son and Kaliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi has been made a �Permanent Invitee� and Silchar MP Sushmita Dev figures among the �Special Invitees�.
�Gaurav has found his name in the list of Permanent Invitees because he is the party�s independent in-charge for West Bengal, while Dev is a Special Invitee due to her position as president of the All India Mahila Congress. However, this will no doubt also further increase their respective profiles within the organisation. Gaurav is being groomed for bigger things in the years to come,� said a party leader.
Asked if the Congress is likely to project Tarun Gogoi as the chief ministerial candidate once more during the 2021 Assembly polls, party sources said that is unlikely to be the case due to the senior leader�s advanced age and his health factor.
�But considering the way Gaurav is being groomed by the high command and given additional responsibilities, there is a distinct possibility that Gogoi Junior may well emerge as a frontrunner for the Chief Minister�s post in case we come back to power in three years� time,� said a senior Congress office-bearer.
Senior party leader and former State minister Hemaprova Saikia was a member of the previous CWC which had functioned under former party president Sonia Gandhi.