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regular-article-logo Thursday, 23 May 2024

CAA is absolutely against the Assam Accord: Priyanka Gandhi seeks support for Congress

Priyanka flagging the CAA issue assumes importance because the Congress manifesto — Nyay Patra — released on April 5 has no mention of the law even though the party had been vocal against the contentious legislation within and outside Parliament

Umanand Jaiswal Titabor (Assam) Published 17.04.24, 12:22 PM
Priyanka Gandhi Vadra dances with artists during an election campaign rally in Assam’s Jorhat district on Tuesday.

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra dances with artists during an election campaign rally in Assam’s Jorhat district on Tuesday. PTI picture

Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi on Tuesday urged voters in this Upper Assam town to vote for the Congress if it wants to “stop” the contentious CAA.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), passed by Parliament in 2019, expedites the process for granting Indian citizenship to persecuted non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who entered India without papers before December 31, 2014.

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Priyanka flagging the CAA issue assumes importance because the Congress manifesto — Nyay Patra — released on April 5 has no mention of the law even though the party had been vocal against the contentious legislation within and outside Parliament. The ruling CPM in Kerala has slammed the principal Opposition party for its silence on the law in its manifesto.

Priyanka made the assertion on the CAA in a brief speech before the launch of a well-attended roadshow held amid intermittent drizzle here to mobilise support for sitting Lok Sabha MP Gaurav Gogoi from the Jorhat parliamentary constituency at present held by ruling BJP’s Topon Kumar Gogoi.

The Congress general secretary said: “When the (1985) Assam Accord was signed, your voice was heard and reflected. This CAA is absolutely against the Assam Accord. If you want to stop all this ... if you want price rise to fall, if you want unemployment to fall, if you want creation of job opportunities... you will have to vote for Congress.”

The Assam Accord, a culmination of the six-year-long movement demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants, was signed during her late father and then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s tenure.

The anti-CAA brigade in Assam fears CAA’s implementation will be a threat to the culture and identity of the Assamese people by nullifying the 1985 Assam Accord that provides for detection, deletion and expulsion of illegal foreigners who entered Assam on or after March 24, 1971, in accordance with the law.

The ruling BJP has asserted that people of the state have nothing to fear because only a few lakhs will be eligible for citizenship.

Priyanka had made the assertion after Gaurav Gogoi in his brief speech listed out the Congress’ priority areas, including the repeal of the “unconstitutional” CAA once the INDIA bloc comes to power. The CAA has been a key poll plank of the United Opposition Forum, led by the Congress in Assam.

In a post on X, Gogoi, who has created a buzz by mounting a “spirited and sober” campaign against the formidable BJP election machinery, thanked Priyanka “for raising your voice” against the CAA and “supporting” the demand of the six ethnic communities for Scheduled Tribes status.

Priyanka, whose 2.5km roadshow attracted a healthy turnout, also said the party was committed to increasing the daily wage of tea garden workers when the government changes at the Centre.

The tea community plays a decisive role in Upper Assam. It was her first campaign visit for the Lok Sabha polls in the Northeast. She had also campaigned in Assam in the 2021 Assembly election.

Priyanka also tore into the ruling BJP, which she accused of trying to divert attention from important issues such as unemployment and inflation plaguing the common people and trying to stay “in power at any cost”.

All her commitments were lustily applauded by the turnout which Congress leaders said were beyond their expectations.

Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats of which nine are held by the BJP and three by the Congress. Jorhat, which has emerged as a key battleground for both the ruling dispensation and the Opposition, goes to the polls on April 19.

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