| Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma addresses the rally on Friday. Picture by UB Photos |
Nakachari (Mariani), March 28: The Congress today took the one-size-does-not-fit-all line to counter the BJP’s Gujarat model, saying even the Assam model would be broken into micro-levels to expedite development in the state.
Picking up from where Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had left off in his two speeches in the state yesterday, Assam health and family welfare and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma criticised the Gujarat model and mooted a place-specific plan for development, at a poll meeting here this afternoon.
Nakachari, near the Assam-Nagaland border, is under the Mariani Assembly seat, which is part of Jorhat constituency and nearly 30km southeast of Jorhat town.
Sarma was campaigning for former Union minister and six-time MP in a row since 1991, Bijoy Krishna Handique.
Congress MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi has occupied the Mariani seat since 2006 and is said to be close to Sarma.
Rahul had taken a dig at Modi, criticising the Gujarat model and had praised the era of development ushered in by the Tarun Gogoi-led government since 2001 in the state.
A comparative note on various parameters of development between Assam and Gujarat released earlier this week by the chief minister had shown the Narendra Modi-led state to be lagging far behind Assam.
Gandhi had said one model could not be imposed upon and be successful in another state, as the problems are different in nature and need different approaches.
“An Opposition leader had come to Guwahati recently (in an oblique reference to Modi) and had promised the moon by flaunting the Gujarat model. But we do not need it. Our leader (Rahul) had said the Assam model was the best as it had ushered in real development for all sections of society,” Himanta said.
He said the Congress believed in participatory democracy, under which devolution of power to the grassroots is favoured, so that development plans can be prepared according to specific needs.
“We believe that a model plan for each district, town and constituency has to be prepared by carrying out a survey on the needs and problems of the areas. It may be a Mariani model or a Teok model,” Himanta said.
He called Modi’s claim of supplying drinking water from Gujarat through big pipes, through which cars and other big vehicles could travel, a bluff.
Lampooning the BJP candidate for the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat, Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, for changing turf in every election, the minister asked Tasa to “make up his mind” first.
Comparing Tasa to a cuckoo, Sarma said once he (Tasa) will fly from Dibrugarh, then Jorhat and then Margherita (Assembly seat in 2011) and then Jorhat again this time.
“Maybe his next time will be in Nagaon and then my Assembly constituency (Jalukbari) next and so on,” he added.
On whether he will campaign at Kaliabor, where Gaurav Gogoi (the chief minister’s son) was contesting, Himanta told reporters that according to the party’s ground report, there was no need for him to campaign as Gaurav was going to win with the highest margin.
The minister’s visit by chopper was delayed by three hours from scheduled 11am because of inclement weather — rain in the morning and a cloudy sky later.
Mariani MLA Rupjyoti Kurmi kept the crowd busy by dancing Bihu, along with a troupe, and then jhumur (the traditional tea tribes’ dance).
A dance performance by a Naga Ao community group, which comprises residents of nearby Morongial village, also entertained the crowd.