Millennium Post

I kept asking for more forces: Tarun Gogoi

I kept asking for more forces: Tarun Gogoi
The humanitarian crisis in Assam has reached large enough proportions with 44 deaths and thousands of people being forced to go homeless for it to become a big political issue as well. On Thursday, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's critics in the state Congress had taken the matter to the party high command in Delhi. On Friday – a day before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and the Congress president Sonia Gandhi is scheduled to visit the riot-affected areas – the chief minister retaliated and virtually created a crisis in party.

Gogoi put the blame on the centre for not sending central forces on time to control the rioters. In a scathing attack on the centre, he said that the scenario would not have deteriorated so much if the centre had taken action earlier. 'I kept telling the centre we needed more central forces... I don't want to make controversial statement, but we got no intelligence input from the centre,' he said.

The central leadership in the Congress had tried to control the damage by appointing a coordination committee to supervise riot-control mechanisms in the state. Though, Gogoi headed the committee, it was seen as a rebuff to him. Gogoi's belligerence on Friday and putting the blame squarely on the centre is most likely a response to he getting all the blame for the ethnic violence between the Bodo tribals and the Muslim migrants to the tribal districts.

In New Delhi, the Congress played Gogoi's anger down. The senior party leader Ambika Soni said, 'It is not right to say that centre did not intervene. The way it works is that the state asks for central intervention and then it is given to them. I am not ready to believe that centre had intelligence inputs and didn’t act on them. The chief minister is trying to bring the situation under control.'

The Congress spokesperson Rashi Alvi asserted that his party had 'full faith' in Gogoi's ability to handle the crisis.
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