New Delhi: Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Wednesday said he was ready to be chief minister for a fourth consecutive time.
He also said the defection of former health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to the BJP will help the Congress win next year’s assembly elections.
“Yes, I am ready to be chief minister for a fourth time,” he asserted at a media briefing here.
His statement comes after he dismissed speculation that his son and Lok Sabha member Gaurav Gogoi would be projected as the Congress’s chief ministerial candidate saying the latter did not have the experience for the post.
He said his one time blue-eyed boy Sarma’s defection to the BJP would help the Congress win the elections to the 126-member assembly expected to be held in March-April next year.
After having resigned as state education and health minister in July last year, Sarma quit the Congress and joined the BJP in August this year.
“Himanta is a home-breaker. He tried to break our (Congress’s) home and now he will break BJP’s home,” Gogoi said.
According to him, Sarma was, at one point of time, willing to be deputy chief minister under him.
“Later, he started saying he should be made chief minister instead of me,” he said.
Asked if the Congress would have a pre-poll alliance in the state, he the party planned to fight the elections alone.
On speculation about discussions between the Congress and regional party Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), he conceded that talks were going on.
“But it is for them (AGP) to decide. I have neither said yes nor no,” he said.
Gogoi, who on Wednesday submitted a memorandum to Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a series of demands, including release of funds due from the Centre and continuation of special category status for Assam, said he also complained about Governor P.B. Acharya.
“I told the prime minister that the governor is interfering in the state’s affairs,” he said.
Acharya, who is the Nagaland governor, has been given additional charge of Assam till the appointment of a full-time governor.
“It has been one year and no governor has been appointed yet,” Gogoi said.
The Assam chief minister also commented on the controversy created by Arunachal Pradesh Governor J.P. Rajkhowa by calling an assembly session earlier than scheduled without consulting Chief Minister Nabam Tuki or the council of ministers.
“They (the BJP) are using governors as political agents. They failed in Assam and now they are trying this in Arunachal Pradesh,” he said.