|AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi being welcomed by Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi at Chaygaon on Tuesday and (above) local women perform at the rally. Pictures by UB Photos
Chaygaon, April 5: AICC general secretary Rahul Gandhi today projected incumbent Tarun Gogoi as the next chief minister of Assam as the party seeks a mandate for a third consecutive term at Dispur.
Kicking off the party campaign for the second phase of Assembly polls, the Congress MP made an appeal to the voters to make Tarun Gogoi the chief minister of Assam for the third straight term so that he could continue with the good work of ushering in peace and development initiated during his 10-year tenure in the hot seat.
Addressing a poll rally at Chaygaon in Kamrup district this morning, Rahul urged the people to vote for the Congress so that Gogoi could take forward the process of development and peace initiated during his two terms as the chief minister. Rahuls statement assumes significance because even AICC president Sonia Gandhi, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, general secretary in-charge of Assam Digvijaya Singh and Bhubaneswar Kalita had remained silent over the issue.
Digvijaya Singh had told The Telegraph that only elected legislators have the right to elect their leader and it would not be taken away from them.
However, Rahul seemed to have virtually sealed the fate of those who were eyeing the top seat, Congress insiders said.
Singh, Kalita, Gogoi and his son Gaurav were among those who attended the rally.
Heaping praise on Tarun Gogoi, he said that during the past 10 years the Congress government had changed the face of Assam in many ways.
The rate of economic growth of the state has gone up to eight per cent during Congress rule from meager two per cent during AGPs tenure, he said.
While campaigning for Rekibuddin Ahmed — the partys candidate for Chaygaon Assembly constituency — Gandhi said he was confident that Ahmed would work for the aam aadmi.
Ahmed, in his thirties, is one of the national co-ordinators for Rahul Gandhi's Aam Aadmi Ka Sipahi programme.
He also launched a scathing attack on the Opposition and called upon the young voters to vote for Congress.
While the Congress is working for the welfare of the aam aadmi, the Opposition parties are indulging in divisive politics with aim of grabbing power at any cost. Unlike the Opposition, for us every citizen is a Hindustani, irrespective of his caste or religion, he said, amid cheers from the crowd.
Criticising sitting AGP MLA of Chaygaon Kamala Kalita for lack of development in the constituency, Gogoi said, Rekibuddin Ahmed is like my son and I urge you to vote for him for the overall development of your constituency.
Rahul also addressed election rallies at Mazbat and Raha Assembly constituencies today where two other young Congress candidates — Jitu Kissan and Pijush Hazarika — are contesting respectively. Hazarika is also one of Rahul Gandhis Aam Aadmi Ka Sipahi in Assam.
While Rahul spelt out his partys agenda, some among the crowd had their own agenda. I will simply vote for the candidate who will pay me some cash, said Mridula Goyari, a middle-aged housewife, who listened to Rahul Gandhi with rapt attention at Chaygaon, told The Telegraph after the meeting ended.
Elections will come and go but it will hardly bring any change in the lives of poor people like us, she rued, holding up a Congress flag.
At both Raha and Mazbat, Rahul said what he had in Chaygaon — to vote for the Congress for peace and inclusive growth.