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Congress shows no hurry on deciding Chavan fate, Kharge calls for unity in Assam

PTI | Last Updated: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 22:17

New Delhi: The Congress leadership appears to be in no hurry on any change of guard in Maharashtra while in Assam, AICC observer Mallikarjun Kharge on Monday urged party members to work unitedly at a time when Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi is facing rebellion.

The party has already ruled out replacing Chief Minister Bhupinder Singh Hooda in Haryana, which was one of the three states where a shake-up was proposed to make the party fighting fit and quell rebellion within state Congress units.

At the AICC briefing, the refrain of party spokesperson Shobha Oza was merely that "everything is under deliberation".
"There is still time for Assembly elections in Assam, so it won`t be a problem if some changes are made there whereas, in Haryana and Maharashtra, the state elections are just a few months away," another senior party functionary said on the condition of anonymity.

Another leader said that so far no decision has been taken about sending any observer to Maharashtra.

The leader also indicated that before the incumbent Gogoi is replaced in Assam, a consensus needs to be built on the next head of the government.

He suggested that unanimity of support for Assam Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who has led a two- year-long dissidence with the backing of 45 MLAs, was not happening.
Kharge is separately meeting the Congress MLA and MPs on the dissidence issue tonight after he addressed a meeting at the APCC headquarters, Rajib Bhaban here, which was attended by state party chief Bhubaneswar Kalita, party office-bearers, district committee presidents and Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi along with both loyalist and dissident ministers.

After the individual meetings with Gogoi loyalists and dissidents, Kharge is expected to submit his report to Congress President Sonia Gandhi for taking a final call on the demand for change of leadership in the state, sources said.

Congress has been debating the pros and cons of replacing its chief ministers in order to beat the anti-incumbency mood in some states and save the party from breaking up in others.

The talk about a change of guard in Maharashtra had gained momentum after senior party leaders AK Antony and Ahmed Patel met NCP chief Sharad Pawar at his residence recently where the issue was discussed threadbare.

Hooda, had however, dismissed the talk of his replacement saying it was a "rumour". Haryana PCC chief Ashok Tanwar and the AICC general secretary in-charge for the state, Shakeel Ahmed, had both dismissed any such suggestion.

Meanwhile, senior party leader from Haryana, Birender Singh, today hit out at the Chief Minister saying he will not contest the October Assembly elections under Hooda`s leadership.

Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP, and a known detractor of Hooda, made the comments at an `Insaaf Rally` organised by him in Jind.

Following the ruling Congress`s dismal showing in Haryana in the just-concluded Lok Sabha elections, Singh and a few other state party leaders, including former Union Minister Kumari Selja, have openly challenged Hooda`s leadership.

Of the total 10 seats in the state, the party managed to retain just the Rohtak seat in the 2014 elections as against the nine it had won in 2009.

BJP won seven of the eight seats it contested this time while two seats were bagged by main opposition Indian National Lok Dal.

First Published: Monday, June 23, 2014 - 22:17

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