GUWAHATI, June 22 � The loyalists of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and the dissidents are gearing up for a show of strength in front of All India Congress Committee (AICC) observer Mallikarjun Kharge , who is arriving in the city tomorrow to review the situation. Kharge, who is the leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha, has been sent by the party high command to assess the political situation in view of the demands by the dissidents for a change of leadership in the Assam Congress Legislature Party (ACLP). Kharge will be accompanied by AICC general secretary Ashis Kulkarni.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister Gogoi has cancelled his visit to New Delhi as the meeting convened by AICC vice president Rahul Gandhi to review the performance of the party in the recent Lok Sabha polls has been postponed.
Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) sources told The Assam Tribune that Kharge would attend a meeting of the office-bearers of the APCC, legislators, members of Parliament, district committee presidents, heads of frontal organisations of the Congress and spokespersons at the Rajiv Bhawan at 3 pm. For the first time during the entire crisis, the office-bearers of the APCC and the district committees would be able to express their views in front of the central observer. Interestingly, the official issue of the meeting is �to discuss the problems relating to the railway fare hike.�
Sources said that after the formal meeting, Kharge is scheduled to meet the legislators individually and he is also likely to hold talks with the Chief Minister and the APCC president on the present crisis. However, sources revealed that Kharge would not take any decision on his own on the issues. He would submit his report to party president Sonia Gandhi for taking the final decision on the demand for change of leadership.
Meanwhile, the dissidents are on an upbeat mood over the visit of Kharge. Sources in the dissident camp said that Kharge�s visit is the second major step. The first step was formation of a three-member committee headed by Ghulam Navi Azad to try for reconciliation and that move failed. However, the committee submitted a report to the party president, following which the decision to send Kharge to assess the mood of the MLAs was taken, sources added.
Dissident sources said that they would not meet Kharge in a group and the legislators would try to meet the observer one by one to express their views in private so that the legislators can express their views openly. Sources further said that it is still not decided whether they would suggest the name of anyone to be the new leader of the ACLP, but they confirmed that the dissidents would press for a change of leadership. �We are still not very clear about the mandate of Kharge and he may ask some specific questions on the issue of change of leadership,� sources added.