TT Epaper
The Telegraph
Graphiti
 
CIMA Gallary

Cong, BJP trade charges at Nagaon
Call for change at Centre & Northeast

April 19: From the “maa-beta ka sarkar” in Delhi to “baap-beta ka sarkar” in Dispur, killing of rhinos, settlement of illegal Bangladeshis, supporting the long-standing ST demand of six communities, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi did not hold anything back in his attempt to connect with Assam at three back-to-back well-attended poll rallies, possibly his last in the state, before the final phase on April 24.

The “maa-beta, baap-beta sarkar”, a jibe aimed at Sonia Gandhi-Rahul and Tarun Gogoi-Gaurav, was the recurring theme at all his rallies — starting with Bortilapathar (Bongaigaon district), followed by Punia (Mangaldoi) and culminating at Borghat (Nagaon). Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had also addressed a rally in Nagaon town, 7km from Modi’s venue, two hours earlier.

Modi spoke for nearly 30 minutes at each rally, which attracted huge crowds on a hot and humid day.

The BJP leader, who landed at Bortilapathar around 11.15am, asked the crowd, estimated to be around a lakh from the 10 Assembly segments in Barpeta Lok Sabha seat, whether they would prefer to rule Assam by themselves or by Bangladeshis.

The crowd responded in the negative to the latter.

Demand for Scheduled Tribe status raised by six ethnic groups in Assam had been ignored by the UPA government since long, but the BJP would support the demand, Modi asserted.

Throwing a challenge to Rahul, Modi said: “You are today in Assam and I am also there, tell the people of Assam what your chief minister had done for the state and why Ashok Paper Mill (which was granted as per Assam Accord) has been closed.”

Modi urged people and youths aged between 18 and 28 to vote the BJP for a stable government at the Centre and promised that he would “change the life of people in the country”.

Golam Gofur Mustafa, 65, who came to see Modi from Chatpara near Jogighopa in Bongaigaon at the rally said: “I want change, only Modi can bring change and Chandra Mohan Patowary will win the Barpeta seat.”

At Punia near Mangaldoi in Darrang district, his second stop, Modi thundered: “Dhup me tapashya kiya hei, o bekar jane nehi dunga (I will not let the pain that people suffered by waiting under the scorching sun go in vain),” before hitting out at the Congress.

“Delhi me ma bęte or Assam me baap bęte ki sarkar ne logoko dubaiya,” he said.

Modi said Congress allegedly sowed the seeds of divisive politics among the people of Assam by creating and spreading an environment of distrust.

He said the party was not willing to work out an amicable solution to the Bodo-non Bodo problem, while reiterating BJP’s commitment to restore normalcy.

Modi was gifted a dhol and a traditional Assamese bihuwan at Punia where he mocked at the UPA government’s alleged indifference to the demand for rail connectivity to Mangaldoi and also praised women in Assam for their “exceptional skill” in handicraft in his bid to connect.

From Punia he reached Borghat Bypass in Nagaon at 1.35pm and addressed a gathering of around 70,000.

He once again described the Union government as maa-beta ka sarkar and the Assam government as baap-beta ka sarkar.

“People, especially mediapersons, were waiting for the last two months for such an opportunity where both Rahulji and Narendra Modi will address rallies in the same area and on the same day. That has finally happened in Nagaon today. Interestingly, today’s rally here established in whose favour the wave is,” Modi said in his 30-minute speech at one of the biggest rallies in central Assam.