For a brief 24-hour period on May 15, it seemed Tarun Gogoi, the new chief minister of Assam, would once again be pipped at the post by Bhubaneshwar Kalita, a last-minute contender for the top slot. But an unequivocal message from Sonia Gandhi backing Gogoi clinched the issue, paving the way for a Congress government in Assam after a five-year gap. For Gogoi, ascending to the throne has been a culmination of a 30-year stint in the party, spent variously as a six-time Lok Sabha MP, joint secretary of the aicc and minister of state in the P.V. Narasimha Rao government.
In a way, history favoured the Congress. Voters in Assam did not deviate from the tradition they have maintained for the last three decades of voting out incumbent governments. Gogoi, however, claims that it was not history repeating itself but that the people wanted a change and voted the Congress in.