Cong faces biggest crisis in Assam

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Guwahati, June 4 (UNI) A severe crisis has gripped the Congress government in Assam since it came to power in 2001, following a murder case and subsequent CBI arrest of a minister, which have literally threatened to sweep away the party.

The Congress is in disarray and all the ministers, including Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, are ducking for cover as the CBI took disgraced Assam minister Ripun Bora and his two colleagues for three more days of remand today.

The Congress was shell-shocked as they saw their own spokesman and most important member of the cabinet Ripun Bora being arrested by the CBI at New Delhi yesterday for trying to bribe CBI official in a political murder case, in which he was allegedly involved.

A determined and combined Opposition in Assam stepped up its pressure demanding the scalp of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.

Sensing danger to himself and the party, Mr Gogoi sacked the minister yesterday, but was unable to come out of the crisis as he tried to stop the CBI probe by extracting a clean chit from the state government's CID.

''Now, he must go. This is unprecedented in the annals of India's history and Mr Tarun Gogoi must resign,'' said Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) President Brindabon Goswami.

The AGP, Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Nationalist Congress Party (NCP) and AGP(P), besides the All Assam Students Union (AASU), addressed separate press conferences, demanding resignation of the chief minister for ''sheltering the disgraced'' education minister.

Meanwhile, the All Assam Tea Tribes Students Association (AATSA) called an Assam 'bandh' on June 9 demanding immediate expulsion of Mr Bora from the party as well as from the Assam Assembly.

Mr Bora was the state government spokesman and one of the most powerful ministers of the Assam Cabinet till he was exposed yesterday.

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