Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, who has publicly admitted that dissidence in Congress led to the party's drubbing in Lok Sabha polls, today ticked off a minister who demanded a change of leadership.
"If necessary, I will take strong action against him," Gogoi told reporters here referring to Co-operation and Border Areas Development Minister Siddeque Ahmed. Ahmed had said that some Congress MLAs would boycott the Assembly session next month and protests would be held before the party high command in New Delhi, which were 'expressions of anger' by MLAs 'who wanted a change in leadership'.
The Chief Minister claimed that Ahmed did not have a Congress background and had helped the opposition AIUDF during the Lok Sabha elections. "A Congressman does not speak like this. No Congressman has the right to question the High Command. Ahmed has supported AIUDF," the chief minister alleged. Stating that everyone had already said they would accept any decision taken by the high command, he said "high command will not take a decision under a threat.
"We have said that we will accept whatever the high command decides and it may be in their (dissidents) favour or may be against them. But they are saying that it should be only in their favour. How can this be possible?" he asked. Last month, the Congress high command had sent senior leaders Mallikarjun Kharge and Ashish Kulkarni to meet Gogoi and his ministers, MLAs, MPs and other members in the state and give a report on the dissidence issue.
The dissident anti-Gogoi camp led by Education and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma with a reported support of 55 MLAs, have openly demanded change in the Congress Legislature Party leadership. In the 126-member Assembly, Congress has 77 MLAs. The party needs 64 members to sustain.