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APCC may seek high command’s intervention
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Feb 28 - With the Rakibul Hussain-Anil Raja fight putting the grand old party in a tight spot in Assam, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) is likely to seek intervention of the party high command to ensure that the situation does not deteriorate further.

Senior Congress party leaders told The Assam Tribune that the extended executive committee meeting of the APCC, scheduled for March 4, is expected to deliberate on the matter.

It is noteworthy that supporters of Hussain and Raja had engaged in a scuffle at the Rajiv Bhawan here on Monday. A day earlier, on Sunday, supporters of Hussain had raised slogans against Raja at Rajiv Bhawan, even as senior central party leader and Leader of Opposition in the Rajya Sabha Ghulam Nabi Azad was addressing a press conference at the venue.

“What is happening within the party in recent days is not factionalism. Rather, it is a clash of personalities. Azad has taken note of the matter as some untoward situation was witnessed during his visit. There is every possibility that our State leadership will officially call upon the All India Congress Committee (AICC) to look into the matter and take an appropriate decision,” said a senior leader.

Raja, who had levelled certain allegations against Hussain, has already been suspended by the party.

“There are certain elements in our party who want to misuse their position for personal gains. There are even attempts by those elements to form parallel units in some districts of upper Assam as well as in the minority-dominated areas. However, our State unit is determined to foil any such personal ambitions of leaders,” said the APCC office-bearer. He, however, refused to identify or takes names of such “elements”.

“During the 2016 Assembly polls, our candidates in some constituencies like Jamunamukh, Bilasipara East and Jaleswar, among others, lost their security deposits. This happened because weak candidates were allotted tickets due to intervention of some powerful leaders. We are determined not to repeat the mistake in the forthcoming panchayat polls or next year’s Lok Sabha elections,” said sources in the State Congress.

The March 4 meeting assumes significance in such a situation, they added. It will be attended by all APCC office-bearers, MLAs and MPs of the Congress party, all district presidents and other senior leaders.

“All issues will be discussed including preparation for the forthcoming panchayat polls, organisational matters, besides the matter of inner party discipline. The State leadership is very upset with the Hussain-Raja issue and worried that it may seriously affect Congress’ prospects just at the time when the BJP regime is going on the downslide and people are looking for a serious alternative,” said a party leader.

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