In an indication that Congress chief ministers may not be made the scapegoat for the recent drubbing in the Lok Sabha polls, Congress chief Sonia Gandhi on Thursday did not accept the resignation offered by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi.
A formal decision would be taken after a meeting of the Assam Congress legislature party. “He (Gogoi) expressed his desire to step down…. The legislators will decide on it,” said CP Joshi, Congress general secretary in-charge of Assam.
However, state agriculture minister Nilomani Sen Deka claimed that the Congress president had outrightly rejected Gogoi’s offer to quit.
The decision, party leaders said, hinted that the leadership wanted senior leaders to take charge of the revamp. Another view was that sacking the chief ministers could result in dissension in state units as there may not be clear alternatives to the incumbent.
The party has been plagued by factionalism and dissidence in Assam, with state health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma leading the anti-Gogoi campaign and claiming the support of 45 legislators.
The party also feared that it may send a wrong signal that while the CMs were being sacked, the leadership under whose watch the elections were contested was protected.