GUWAHATI: The beleaguered Congress in Assam is now plagued by a leadership crisis.
A group of 13 MLAs has petitioned party president Sonia Gandhi demanding the removal of Debabrata Saikia as Assam Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader ahead of the 2021 Assam elections.
They said the Congress, being the principal opposition party in the Assembly, should have been able to highlight the failure of the BJP government but it miserably failed. They said the voice of Saikia was scarcely heard in the Assembly and as such, the party had failed to capitalize on many vital issues.
Also accusing Saikia, son of former Congress Chief Minister Hiteswar Saikia, of being biased, they alleged he discouraged team spirit and entertained only a few selected MLAs.
“Our role as the main opposition party has been very weak. We expected that the CLP leader will improve sooner than later but he has not changed,” they wrote.
They appealed to Gandhi to replace Saikia with someone who is a vibrant leader and experienced.
Amidst the crisis, three-time former CM, Tarun Gogoi, asserted that he was confident of reviving the party if entrusted the responsibility of Pradesh Congress chief.
“I have no doubt that if I take the responsibility (of state Congress chief), I can revive the party with a dedicated team,” he asserted.
The octogenarian leader, who met Gandhi two days ago, denied having discussed the leadership issue with her. However, he added that many state Congress leaders were approaching him.
The Congress ruled Assam for 15 years on the trot under Gogoi until the emergence of the BJP. The Congress’s popularity started dwindling in the wake of a power struggle in 2014 which saw a group of leaders, including Himanta Biswa Sarma, defecting to the BJP. Since the 2016 defeat in Assam polls, the Congress hasn’t done well in any of the elections.