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Battle-worn Gogoi Gives in to a Reshuffle

Published: 24th October 2014 06:00 AM  |   Last Updated: 23rd October 2014 10:40 PM   |  A+A-

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GUWAHATI: After over a year of flip-flop, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi finally appears all set to  rejig his ministry. This will be his maiden reshuffle in the 13  years since he first assumed the post of Chief Minister in 2001.

“I am going to Delhi on Friday to discuss the issue of reshuffle with the party leadership. Some new faces are likely to be inducted into the ministry,” Gogoi told journalists.

But his move may not be all that smooth. A group of rebel legislators is also headed to Delhi to highlight before the leadership issues plaguing the party in the state.

“We are going after Diwali. The situation in the Haryana and Maharashtra Congress was akin to that of Assam. We all know what happened in the two states. So, we want to apprise the leadership of the  prevailing situation in Assam,” former minister Siddeque Ahmed, who was recently dropped by Gogoi during the height of dissidence against him, told journalists here on Thursday.

Battered by an over two-year-long rebellion, Gogoi did his best to delay reshuffle. But as it appears, now, he cannot prevent the inevitable. There has always been a fear that the reshuffle would only create more problems for the three-time Chief Minister.

There is a perception that while the reshuffle would please some, it may cause dissatisfaction to many, leading to the rejuvenation of the  Himanta Biswa Sarma camp.

Sarma, a powerful former minister, was Gogoi’s most trusted lieutenant until they fell out with each other. In due course, a section of the party legislators, headed by Sarma, raised the banner of revolt against Gogoi, seeking his ouster. The issue then was resolved by the Congress leadership, but the undercurrent of the rebellion is still being felt.

There have been growing demands within the ruling party to drop non-performing ministers, some of whom have been holding office for more than 13 years.

“Who will he drop? There are so many aspirants of ministerial berths. He can neither drop all non-performing ministers, nor can he accommodate all the aspirants.

So, we feel a reshuffle will only open up the Pandora’s Box,” a Congress insider told Express.

The Congress rebels’ demands have been the sacking of Gogoi among others. Keeping that in perspective, the insider said Gogoi might not be the face of the Congress when it gears up for the next Assembly elections.

The Chief Minister had earlier asserted that he will take “sanyas” from electoral politics in 2016 when the polls will be held.

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