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Assam minister who led rebellion against Tarun Gogoi quits

Tuesday, 22 July 2014 - 7:10am IST | Place: GUWAHATI | Agency: dna

Assam's health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was leading a rebellion against chief minister Tarun Gogoi, resigned on Monday.

His resignation comes amid the demand by a group of over 50 rebel Congress legislators to party high command to remove Gogoi from the post of leader of Congress legislature party. The Congress has 77 legislators in the state.

"I resigned because it was not possible mentally, physically and politically for me to work under the chief minister. I am not going to withdraw my resignation at any cost," Sarma said soon after tendering his resignation to governor JB Patnaik.

Sarma was once Gogoi's most trusted lieutenant until he fell out with the chief minister. Their relationship strained after Gogoi's son, Gaurav, who is now a Lok Sabha MP, plunged into politics in 2012.

"My resignation is not going to affect the government. If the high command issues a whip, we will obey it," Sarma, who was being projected as the next chief minister by the rebels, said. He was miffed over Gogoi's purported assertion about reshuffling of the ministry after every four months. "I felt this is absolute madness."

Gogoi denied having made such a statement. He also rubbished Sarma's allegation about playing communal politics. "I have never said such a vague thing. How can one change a ministry after every four months? The allegation has no basis," Gogoi said.

"I have been a disciplined soldier of the Congress party and my credentials are known to all. I have always worked for the party's interest. My stand and commitment towards the party is well-known. I do not require any certificate from anyone," he added.

Sarma said the dissidents would play the role of a constructive opposition and oppose the anti-people policies of the government. Over the last few months, the Congress leadership held a series of meetings with both Gogoi and Sarma camps but could not douse the flames of revolt against Gogoi.

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