Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is facing a rebellion of sorts from within his ruling Congress party with legislators seeking a reshuffle in the cabinet and dropping of "non-performing" ministers.
"A group of 27 legislators submitted a signed memorandum to the chief minister requesting him to effect a cabinet reshuffle by dropping inefficient ministers and inducting new faces," Raju Sahu, a Congress legislator representing the Chabua assembly constituency in eastern Assam, told IANS Thursday.
This is the first time in the past eight years that the chief minister is facing an open revolt. Gogoi has been heading the state government since 2001.
"If we are to win the 2011 assembly elections for the third term then it is a must for the chief minister to have a very good team with him and hence the need to reshuffle the cabinet," Sahu said.
Murmurs of dissent were palpable with other legislators too joining the revolt bandwagon.
"Those ministers who were not able to deliver the goods should be dropped and new faces inducted. I am the legislator from the prestigious Guwahati East constituency and still I am not a minister, nor do I have any power," said Robin Bordoloi.
There is a lobby stepping up its ante against the chief minister, the coterie becoming more vocal after the Congress won just seven of the 14 seats in the recently concluded parliamentary elections. The party had won nine seats in the 2004 Lok Sabha polls.
"This is not a demand but yes there is a feeling for a reshuffle. We are a democratic party and these are our internal matters," said another Congress legislator Bhupen Bora.
The chief minister admitted there was a demand from within the party legislators for a reshuffle.
"It is true there is a demand for a reshuffle. I never said there would be no reshuffle in the cabinet, although right now we have not decided anything on this," Gogoi said.
Considering the belligerent mood of the legislators, the chief minister might axe at least two to three ministers and induct a couple of new faces to stem any further dissidence in the party.