17th Mar 2017 09:03:PM State
Eastern Sentinel Arunachal News


GUWAHATI, Mar 17:  Senior Congress leader Padi Richo on Thursday observed that the party would lose Meghalaya and Mizoram also if the high command continues with C.P. Joshi as the AICC general secretary in charge of the Northeast.

"We are passing through a difficult phase. He (Joshi) has neither been able to guide or coordinate (the party) nor has he the patience to strengthen the party in these challenging times. If he is allowed to continue, we will also lose Meghalaya and Mizoram, which go to the polls next year," Richo, former Arunachal Pradesh cabinet minister and PCC president who was replaced by Takam Sanjoy on Tuesday, told this correspondent.

Richo has been with the Congress since his NSUI days (1984) and has held key positions in both the party and the state government.

The Congress has been losing one state after another in the Northeast since the BJP, led by Narendra Modi, came to power at the Centre in 2014.

The party first lost Assam in May 2016 followed by the smooth takeover of the Arunachal Pradesh government through mass defection in December 2016.

Last week, the party lost Manipur to the BJP after 15 straight years in power despite being the single largest party. The Congress won 28 seats to the BJP's 21 in the 60-member House but the BJP wrested power with the help of smaller parties.

Richo made the observations against Joshi, a very close aide of AICC vice-president Rahul Gandhi, while reacting to the party's inability to form the government.

"While BJP general secretary Ram Madhav stationed himself in Manipur till the formation of government, Joshi was away in Delhi and in a rush to replace me (with Takam Sanjoy) though organisational elections are due in May. By the time he reached Imphal, the BJP had stolen a march over us," Richo said.

He recounted two more personal instances to convey Joshi's style of functioning, which party insiders in Assam said could be "detrimental" to the "future health" of the party.

"He had insisted on including (late) Kalikho Pul in the Pema Khandu ministry last year. I had opposed the move because of Pul's role in the dissidence against Nabam Tuki (former chief minister) in the Congress Legislature Party. I had also objected to Joshi not having time to listen to PCC chiefs and coordinators from the Northeast at a meeting in Guwahati in January this year. I had objected only in the interest of the party," Richo said.

The Telegraph had reported in its January 7 edition how a PCC chief (without naming Richo) "took on" Joshi when the latter tried to rush through the meeting in Guwahati and how others offered him "tacit" support while trying to "cool" things down.

The agitated state president had asked Joshi to hear them out before taking any decision, leading to an "exchange" of words between the duo.

Asked if he, too, would leave the Congress, Richo said he was a "born" Congressman and thanked the party leadership, Sonia Gandhi and Rahul Gandhi, for entrusting him with party responsibilities at various points in his career. He said he had "excellent ties" with the new Arunachal PCC president Takam Sanjoy and would work closely with him to strengthen the party.

Party insiders in Assam echoed Richo's views on Joshi's role as the Northeast in-charge. They said they would move the high command to review Joshi's role before it's too late.

The party insiders alleged that Joshi "messed up" in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur. They also said that senior party leaders, including past and present chief ministers, do not have warm ties with Joshi. Consequently, he has not been as effective as he should have been, they added.


Kenter Joya Riba

(Managing Editor)
      She is a graduate in Science with post graduation in Sociology from University of Pune. She has been in the media industry for nearly a decade. Before turning to print business, she has been associated with radio and television.
Email: kenterjoyaz@easternsentinel.in / editoreasternsentinel@gmail.com
Phone: 0360-2212313

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