| Tarun Gogoi at the party meeting in Guwahati on Sunday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, Jan. 23: The ruling Congress today blew the election bugle with party leaders, including chief minister Tarun Gogoi, challenging the Opposition AGP and BJP to fight the Assembly elections with development as their poll plank.
“The AGP and the BJP are parties of selfish people, and have always played politics for their personal interests and to gain wealth. They have never cared for development of the common masses in Assam despite being in power. In the ensuing elections also, they cannot seek votes with development as their poll issue,” Gogoi said, while addressing the Janajagaran (public awareness) meeting at the College of Veterinary Science playground in Khanapara.
More than 18,000 Congress leaders from across the state converged at the playground for the meeting, which was attended by senior party leaders, including AICC general secretary Digvijay Singh, who is in-charge of the party’s affairs in Assam, and Rajya Sabha MP Mabel Rebello.
The leaders not only highlighted the development undertaken by the party but also lashed out at Opposition parties, alleging that the 10-year AGP regime destroyed the state’s economy.
“Not only was development sidelined, the AGP regime was marked by a sense of terror and militant activities and people were scared to move out of homes before we came to power. The AGP and the BJP have been charging that Congress failed to solve the problem of foreigners, but I want to ask them what they did to stop illegal infiltration when they were in power. I do not want to be a chief minister with votes of foreigners,” Gogoi said. He added that carrying out negative publicity against the ruling party was the only weapon left in the hands of the AGP for the polls.
Gogoi also termed the BJP as a “rich man’s party” whose leaders never cared about the problems faced by the common people of Assam. “Rich people don’t vote for Congress, and that is why we are getting lesser votes in town areas. I want to make it clear that we don’t need the votes of the rich,” he said.
He took former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta by the horns, accusing the latter of not only failing to solve the foreigners problem but also of involvement in scams during his tenure.
A confident Gogoi said the party would win the next elections by a huge margin, as the Opposition has no issues to showcase in the elections.
Taking a dig at the Opposition, Digvijay Singh said the BJP only knows how to criticise others and organise dharnas. “Do they have any other work other than staging demonstrations? Organising dharnas seems to be the only job of BJP,” he said.
PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, revenue minister Bhumidhar Barman, health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, education minister Gautam Bora, forest minister Rockybul Hussain and other party leaders attended the meeting.