GUWAHATI, March 19 - Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Anjan Dutta today asserted that the party would be able to retain power. At the same time, he claimed that there is no rift between him and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
Talking to The Assam Tribune, Dutta said that winning prospect was the key for selection of candidates by the party. He said that reports from the booth level committees were considered, while the Chief Minister himself collected reports on winning prospects. He said that the All India Congress Committee, on its own, also collected reports from the field and all the reports were taken into consideration while selecting candidates.
Dutta admitted that there have been some dissatisfaction on the issue of selection of candidates in some parts of the State and a few Congress members also filed nominations as Independent candidates. The APCC has requested such rebel candidates to withdraw from the race and action would be taken against them if they refuse to do so.
On selection of former Union Minister Paban Singh Ghatowar to contest from Moran constituency, Dutta said that the senior Congress leader did not apply for party ticket. He pointed out that Ghatowar�s son had applied for party ticket. �But keeping the winning prospect in mind, I proposed the name of Ghatowar and the AICC accepted the proposal.�
There have been speculations about Ghatowar�s nomination as he had not contested the Assembly polls in the past, but Dutta played down the speculations and said that only party�s interest was kept in mind while nominating Ghatowar.
On the reported rift between him and the Chief Minister, the APCC president claimed that there was no such rift and they are working together to ensure the victory of Congress. He said that he decided not to contest the elections as he would have to campaign all over the State and his daughter is contesting from Amguri constituency. As to why he was not present during the filing of nomination by Gogoi yesterday, Dutta said, �I had to be present with my daughter as she was filing her nomination from Amguri. I have been representing the constituency for a long time and I had to convince the people why I am not contesting and my daughter is being fielded.� He said that he and Gogoi are planning the campaign together.
Dutta revealed that the APCC is preparing an elaborate plan for campaigning for the polls. Congress president Sonia Gandhi, vice president Rahul Gandhi and former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh would be campaigning for the party. However, the dates for their visits are not yet finalized.
He also said that the APCC would be using three helicopters for campaigning. Gogoi would be using one, Dutta himself will use another, while the other will be kept for the central leaders of the party who will be campaigning in the State.