Tarun Gogoi appeared to have got some relief on Friday after Congress president Sonia Gandhi rejected accepting his resignation as Assam's chief minister.
Gogoi, who has been the state's chief minister since 2001, led the party to its worst ever drubbing in the state in the 2014 general election. The Congress won just three of the 14 Parliamentary constituencies even as the BJP won seven. The chief minister had announced last week that he would resign. He blamed "arrogance and complacency" for the poll debacle but said he would not leave politics and would continue to work for the party's recovery.
"The Congress President outrightly rejected the chief minister's offer of resignation," Assam agriculture minister Nilomani Sen Deka said after a meeting with Gogoi.
However, state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is leading the anti-Gogoi campaign, claimed that Sonia neither accepted nor rejected Gogoi's resignation. "CP Joshi (general secretary in-charge of Assam) told me over the phone that the chief minister's resignation letter was neither accepted nor rejected," Sarma told journalists in Guwahati.
He said that the Congress leadership would soon send observers to the state to hold deliberations with party legislators. There were also reports that rebel Congress legislators will meet governor JB Patnaik on Friday and bring a no-confidence motion against Gogoi.
In Delhi, Gogoi met Sonia and Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi. He also met Congress treasurer Motilal Vohra and CP Joshi. Gogoi did not speak to the media, but senior MLA Anjan Dutta said the Congress President had authorised Gogoi to revamp the party organisation in the state, and that as a first step, Gogoi will reshuffle his ministry after June 1 when he completes three years in office in his third term. Dutta said that Rahul too put complete faith in Gogoi's leadership in Assam.
Former union minister BK Handique, who lost in the Lok Sabha polls in Jorhat, said Gogoi would continue as chief minister and lead the party in the state.