Sonia Gandhi wanted Himanta Biswa Sarma to become Assam CM after 2014 rebellion, but Rahul said ‘let him go’: Azad


In 2014, the then Congress president Sonia Gandhi had given a go-ahead to replace the then Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi with Himanta Biswa Sarma, but Rahul Gandhi stalled the transition, former Congress leader Ghulam Nabi Azad has said in his autobiography, seeking to explain exactly when the party’s downfall started in the northeast.

In the interview with Mojo, Ghulam Nabi Azad said he was called to step in when Himanta Biswa Sarma declared a rebellion with the support of 40-45 MLAs. “I was told to manage the situation as Himanta was close to me. And also the then governor JB Patnaik was close to him. I did both the works faithfully,” Ghulam said in the interview.

“I called up Himanta and asked him to come to Delhi with all his supporters in different planes. The then-chief minister was also told to do the same. We took stock of the situation and Himanta had evidently more support. In the process, I briefed Mrs Gandhi about all the developments but she did not tell us to consult with Rahul Gandhi,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

“Before we were going to Assam, I got a call from Rahul Gandhi and he asked me whether we were going to Assam to change the CM. He said we can’t go and called us. At that time, he was not the party president,” Ghulam Nabi Azad said in the interview.

“As I visited Rahul Gandhi, I saw he was having tea with Tarun Gogoi (then Assam CM) and his son Gaurav Gogoi. Rahul Gandhi told me that he came to know that we were irritating Tarun Gogoi. I told him that I was given this task,” Azad said.

“I told him that Himanta will be leaving the party. He said jaane do RSS mein. Every time a Congress leader talked of leaving, it was Rahul Gandhi’s taqiya kalam to say — jaane do. He did not even say BJP, he used to say RSS.” Ghulam Nabi Azad said.

Ghulam Nabi Azad criticised the Congress and Rahul Gandhi once again ahead of the release of his memoir ‘Azaad’. In several interviews given before the book launch, Azad praised PM Modi’s leadership and drew flak from the Congress.