Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi was unanimously elected the Congress Legislature Party (CLP) leader on Tuesday. He will take the oath of office and secrecy on Wednesday, becoming Chief Minister thrice in a row, second only to the late Bimala Prasad Chaliha.
Though the media is not usually allowed to cover CLP meetings, Tuesday's proceedings were held in full media glare and telecast live.
In the presence of AICC observers Pranab Mukherjee and Digvijay Singh, Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhubaneswar Kalita, chairing the meeting, read out a resolution proposing the unanimous election of Mr. Gogoi as CLP leader.
This was followed by senior Congress MLA Bhumidhar Barman proposing Mr. Gogoi's name, and other senior legislators Rameswar Dhanowar, G.C. Langthasa, Nazrul Islam, Amiya Gogoi and Chandan Sarkar seconding the proposal. All the legislators then raised their hands to express their support.
In his speech after being elected CLP leader, Mr. Gogoi said the responsibility had only increased as the party needed to live up to the faith the people had reposed in it. He urged the legislators not to be complacent.
Before the resolution was put before the 78 Congress legislators, Mr. Mukherjee described the party's landslide as the “verdict for continuity and conciliation.”
“It was a verdict for continuity as people wanted development works launched by the Congress in the past 10 years carried forward,” he said. The process of conciliation also began during Mr. Gogoi's tenure, with the misguided youth desiring a return to the mainstream.
Mr. Singh, the AICC general secretary in charge of Assam, said Mr. Gogoi had always taken along all sections, and this had helped the Congress get an overwhelming mandate from the people.
Later, accompanied by Mr. Kalita, Union Minister for Development of the Northeastern Region B.K. Handique and senior party leaders, Mr. Gogoi went to the Raj Bhavan and called on Governor J.B. Patnaik and staked his claim to form a government. Sources in the Raj Bhavan said the swearing-in ceremony would be held at 3 p.m. on Wednesday.
Party insiders said only Mr. Gogoi would be sworn in on Wednesday and he would leave for Delhi on Thursday to finalise the names of his new ministerial team in consultation with party high command.
BPF to be in Ministry
Mr. Gogoi reiterated that the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), the Congress' partner in the just dissolved Assembly, would join the government.