In the last decade or so, time and again politics in Assam centred around two indivisuals and their public spat cornered maximum airtime in the media and other outlets. Yes, we are talking about the verbal duel between former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma over various issues ranging from politics to entertainment. It appears both the leaders enjoy the spotlight they receive when they mudsling each other on the public platform. It was known to one and all that Sarma was the favourite blue-eyed boy of Tarun Gogoi, till the time his son Gaurav entered the scene with political ambitions. Turning from favourite friend to foe, the estranged relations between Sarma and Senior Gogoi has often become the talk of the town. The recent verbal duel between the two which started after presentation of the State budget appears to have gone beyond political consideration as both the leaders have made it a persol issue. Gogoi’s assertion in public that he helped Sarma secure a license of a news channel run by his wife is sure to irk the State’s most influential leader of the present time. Sarma has also done some tough talking attacking Gogoi over his working style when he was the chief minister of the State.
However, it appears that with the Lok Sabha elections approaching, the verbal spat is becoming sharper and incisive between the politicians of the State. And the temperature of the spat is sure to increase in the coming days with political parties upping the ante against each other in order to corner maximum airtime on all available public platforms. Octogerian Gogoi, who has dabbled in politics for nearly five decades, following his party’s footstep at the Centre, wants to seize the initiative and caught off guard the ruling BJP government in the State ahead of the 2019 elections to swing the public mood in the party’s favour. And his attack appears to be centred around the most influential leader in the ruling government. As a master politician, Gogoi is picking up his target, and who better than Sarma who used to be his trusted lieutent during his reins.
In the near future, one can expect many more such comments which will surely set the political temperature soaring in the State. Sarma attacked the former Chief Minister for practising “hit-and-run” inside the Assembly and said he should now face the House and make statements in it. He also attacked the opposition, mainly the Congress, for alleging that nothing has been done from the budget proposals of the last two years. "Former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi practised hit-and-run in the House. He criticized me with a persol attack during the debate on the budget. When my turn came today (Thursday), he is not present here,|Sarma said in his reply to discussion on the 2018-19 budget.
Sarma handled as many as 15 portfolios as a cabinet minister in last 15 years in the State and knows the ins and outs of State politics. His close association with Senior Gogoi before they parted ways before the 2014 Lok Sabha elections is the most talked about political event in the State. Sarma’s departure from the Congress has hit the party hard in the State. Elections results are proof to that theory. It is a secret of sorts that Gogoi, in order to promote his son, sidelined Sarma, and the faultlines started to appear wide open. It would perhaps be not wrong to say both the senior leaders of the State also share many political trade secrets, and it would be interesting to see how much of it they use now to corner each other in the political battlefield.