Opposition corners CM after CBI arrests Minister

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Guwahati, Jun 4 (UNI) A determined and combined Opposition in Assam today stepped up its pressure demanding the scalp of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, following the arrest of former state Education Minister Ripun Bora by the CBI yesterday.

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

The minister was caught red-handed by the CBI yesterday at New Delhi while trying to bribe a CBI official with Rs 10 lakh in connection with a political murder case where he was implicated.

Mr Bora and two of his accomplices, including an Assam-based journalist, were remanded to three days' CBI custody today by a lower court.

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.

He was already sacked from the Assam Cabinet last night.

This morning, AGP president Brindabon Goswami led a protest march to the Raj Bhawan demanding the Governor's intervention.

Later, addressing the media at the state party headquarters, Mr Goswami said Mr Gogoi could not escape responsibility by just dropping the minister from the Cabinet.

''Mr Gogoi has no alternative. He has to resign. What we have been saying all along has been proved by the action of his own minister,'' Mr Goswami said.

BJP president Ramen Deka said there were more such ''ministers involved in murders'' in the Gogoi Cabinet.

''They should also be dropped,'' he demanded.

A worried chief minister returned to Guwahati today and held a meeting with his party workers to minimise the damage.

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