Only nine Congress legislators with ex-minister: Assam CM

New Delhi, Sep 1 (IANS) Despite speculation about the possibility of the Congress government in Assam being reduced to a minority after former minister Himanta Biswa Sarma joined the BJP, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday claimed that only nine party legislators were in the Sarma camp.

“Till today, only nine MLAs are with Himanta,” Gogoi, who was summoned here by the Congress high command, told the media.

“Even now, these nine are in two minds,” he said after a meeting with Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi here on Tuesday morning.

“There is no way the Congress government in Assam can be brought down,” he added.

After the former state health and education minister officially joined the BJP on Friday, the state unit of the Congress suspended four party legislators for going to the Guwahati airport to welcome Sarma after his return from New Delhi and served show cause notice to five other lawmakers.

Of the 78 Congress legislators in the 126-member Assam assembly, Sarma has claimed the support of 40.

On Tuesday afternoon, Gogoi, along with state Congress president Anjan Dutta, attended a party core committee meeting with Rahul Gandhi and the party’s Assam in-charge C.P. Joshi, and discussed the party’s prospects in the 2016 assembly elections.

“We discussed the formation of the campaign committee and manifesto committee for next year’s elections,” Gogoi told newspersons following the meeting.

“Some names were floated but nothing has been finalised as yet,” he said.

Meanwhile, Dutta, in the meeting, demanded the resignation of Sarma as a party legislator after joining the BJP.

“I demanded in the meeting that since Sarma has joined the BJP, he should resign from the assembly,” he told the media.

He also supported Gogoi’s claim that not more than nine legislators were in the Sarma camp.

“Of the MLAs served show-cause notice, we might consider taking back those who seek forgiveness,” Dutta added.

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