March 31: From inflation to Italian marines and from unemployment to unrest, BJP’s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today raked up all possible issues to embarrass the Congress’s central leadership in Assam.
At three back-to-back, well-attended rallies on either side of the Brahmaputra, Modi declared with his usual flourish that this was the “first election in the history of India where the results are out before the polls”. He said the Congress would struggle to reach the double digit-mark in any state and even open its account in Assam.
Modi attended rallies at Biswanath Chariali in Sonitpur district, Gogamukh in Dhemaji district and in Sivasagar town.
Campaigning for the BJP’s candidate for Tezpur Lok Sabha seat, R.P. Sarmah, Modi raised the Italian marines case in response to Sonia’s remarks at Lakhimpur yesterday that “some people were beating drums of patriotism”.
“At whose behest did the government in Delhi give the marines a chance to go back to Italy? Had the Supreme Court not taken a strong stand on the matter, the marines would not have come back,” Modi said. The Italian marines are accused of shooting two fishermen in Kerala in 2012.
At Biswanath Chariali, Modi addressed a rally at the venue where Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi had campaigned for Tezpur candidate Bhupen Kumar Borah.
He raised the massacre of 15 people at Behali along the Assam-Arunachal Pradesh border and the death of Arunachal Pradesh youth Nido Tania in New Delhi.
Dubbing the Congress manifesto a “dhokhapatra”, Modi said the Congress had promised to bring down inflation in 100 days but had failed.
Over 60,000 BJP supporters attended the rally. Rahul’s meeting, despite the bandh call by the NDFB (Songbijit), had attracted 40,000 people.
From Biswanath Chariali, Modi flew to Gogamukh under Lakhimpur Lok Sabha constituency to campaign for Sarbananda Sonowal. Over 30,000 people attended the rally, more than yesterday’s turnout at Sonia Gandhi’s rally.
Saying that the Congress would struggle to open its account in Assam, he added, “The people are not only thinking about ousting the Congress but also punishing the party that has destroyed India and Assam”.
He alleged that some people in the Congress-led government in Assam were involved in poaching of rhinos to make way for Bangladeshi settlers in areas inhabited by the animal. “After May 16, they will be taken to task one by one (chun chun ke hisab liya jayega),” he added.
Modi said despite the abundance of gas and petroleum in Assam, the state had not developed. He also alleged that the Congress’ vote-bank politics was encouraging illegal migration from Bangladesh, which, in turn, was destroying Assam. On Hindu migrants from Bangladesh, he said they should be sheltered in India, but Assam should not bear the entire brunt.
Modi’s last port of call was Sivasagar Durbar Field where he campaigned for the party’s Jorhat candidate Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, who is up against Congress’s seven-time MP Bijoy Krishna Handique.
“We are thinking of finding a solution to India’s problems, the Congress is only thinking about stopping Modi. They are worried about what will happen to the Congress leaders if Modi comes to power. They are afraid because they have looted the nation,” he said.
Modi alleged that the Congress was not interested in bringing back black money stashed in foreign banks as “it belonged to them”.
Hitting out at Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi, he alleged that Gogoi could not complete a 50m bridge in his hometown Jorhat in the past three-and-a-half years. “How can you expect him to build Assam?” he asked.
They may be tearing each other at campaign rallies, but when they met at Rowriah airport on their way back after campaigning at various places in Assam today, Gogoi and Modi shook hands and exchanged greetings.