Chit fund barb at PM

Former Assam chief minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no moral right to criticise anyone involved in chit fund scams because an accused in the Saradha scam is a minister in the BJP-led government in Assam.

By A STAFF REPORTER in Guwahati
  • Published 24.11.16
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Tarun Gogoi speaks in Guwahati on Wednesday. Picture by UB Photos

Guwahati, Nov. 23: Former Assam chief minister and Congress leader Tarun Gogoi today said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has no moral right to criticise anyone involved in chit fund scams because an accused in the Saradha scam is a minister in the BJP-led government in Assam.

Gogoi made this statement to the media here in reference to Modi's indirect attack on Bengal chief minister Mamata Banerjee in Agra last Sunday. The Prime Minister had said political leaders behind multicrore-rupee chit fund scams were attacking him as they had been hit hard by demonetisation - remarks seen as a sharp attack on Mamata.

"Modi had indirectly attacked Mamata Banerjee over chit fund scams but, ironically, a BJP leader in Assam, who was an accused in the Saradha scam, is a minister in the Sarbananda Sonowal government," Gogoi said without naming the minister.

Accusing Modi and the BJP of adopting "double standards" on corruption, Gogoi said: "For them, if someone is in the Opposition, he is corrupt but the moment he joins the BJP, he becomes clean."

Gogoi's remarks were seen an oblique attack on Assam cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had quit the Congress to join the BJP in August last year.

Sarma, who was questioned by the CBI in connection with the Saradha scam, had said the probe agency gave him a clean chit and he was questioned only as a witness and not an accused.

Gogoi also accused that the BJP-led governments in New Delhi and Dispur were threatening Congress leaders with corruption cases unless they joined the BJP.

"This was the reason why 14 elected and four nominated Congress members of the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council, led by chief executive member Tuliram Ronghang, switched sides and joined the BJP (in June)," he said.

The former chief minister said Modi's demonetisation move was "politically motivated" with an eye on the upcoming Assembly polls. "It is the poor who are suffering most because of demonetisation. In the ATMs people are getting only Rs 2,000 notes owing to which they are facing problems going about their day as not very many vendors have change for Rs 2,000," he said.

On the Congress's defeat in the byelections to the Lakhimpur Lok Sabha and Baithalangso Assembly constituencies, whose results were declared yesterday, Gogoi said though the party lost the poll, its vote share increased in the Lakhimpur seat.

"After the BJP's victory in the state Assembly polls six months back, the party's vote share has decreased in Lakhimpur constituency. It shows that the BJP's popularity is on the decline after it came to power in the state in May this year," he said.