Since assuming charge as the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president, Anjan Dutta has been working overtime on a war footing to revitalize the party that is moribund in Assam. The ‘pratara birodhi divas’ observed on Saturday at Khapara in Guwahati by the APCC bears testimony to the agility on the part of Dutta. Such a programme was announced only after Dutta coming at the helm of affairs in the state PCC. Maybe, by holding such a rally Dutta wants to get his note of warning against the BJP across that ‘though the ‘Modi magic’ helped the saffron party make it to New Delhi, the APCC is not ready to let the BJP wrest Assam from it. With such a resolution in mind, Dutta has his eyes set on the Assembly polls in the State slated for 2016. And it is not unusual, when viewed through Dutta’s prism. In his three–decade–long stint in Assam politics, Dutta could prove himself as a successful politician. In 1985 when the wave of regiolism swept the state, Dutta led the Assam Pradesh Youth Congress (APYC) from the front as its president. The Congress made it to Dispur in 1991 again. The support base of the AGP that had come up by using the Assam Agitation as its launch–pad eroded like a structure built on sand. Along with the Congress’ comeback in that year, it was no mean feat for the then APYC chief Dutta that as many as seven Youth Congress leaders could make it to Dispur for the first time. The people of Assam still cherish the memory of Dutta as the then State Transport Minister giving a fresh lease of life to Assam State Transport Corporation (ASTC) when it was gasping for life. That he has been working as a responsible MLA since 2011 is also quite noticeable.
There is nothing unusual for Dutta as the chief of the APCC observing ‘pratara birodhi divas’ so as to expose, what he said, the double standard of the rendra Modi–led NDA government at the Centre. A pertinent question, however, is: Do the Congress and its Tarun Gogoi–led government as a whole have the credentials to accuse the BJP of deceiving the people of Assam? The Congress is sceptical about the BJP’s ‘honesty’ for doing a volte–face on two issues – the India–Bangladesh land swap deal and the Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project. Before the last Lok Sabha elections, the BJP was against the execution of the land swap deal, but after coming to power in New Delhi it is in favour of the deal. In the same line, the BJP now wants to make Lower Subansiri Hydroelectric Project a reality. For such U–turns, various organizations and parties of Assam criticizing the BJP is nothing unusual, but toeing the line. But the Congress holding ‘pratara birodhi divas’ on these two issues just makes one laugh one’s head off. The reason? These two sensitive decisions were taken by the Congress–led UPA government at the Centre and imposed them upon the people of Assam. During former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s Dhaka tour, the India–Bangladesh Land Swap Deal was signed right in the presence of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi. How come Gogoi, who was silent during the signing of the land swap deal in front of him, claim moral high ground on this issue? The issue of Lower Subansiri Dam is no different. It is under the patroge of the Congress that the dam has reached its present stage. The long speeches delivered by Gogoi’s Cabinet colleagues in favour of the big dam on the floor of the state Assembly still reverberate in the length and breadth of the state. Why is this protest now?
In fact, this is a tradition of a sort in Indian democracy. When in power our politicians are anti–people and when they lose power they turn pro–people and oppose every step taken by a government. Majority of people of the state today would like to say that the Congress is the first to have deceived them. The party that made it to Dispur with the promises of bringing peace and development in the state could ensure neither peace, nor development. In the me of development the party created some middlemen who have been looting the state exchequer like anything. Peace, on the other hand, is a far cry. The atmosphere in the state is redolent of a panicky created by serial killings by militants and miscreants. As though to cap it all, the power struggle among the Congress leaders in the state has left the administration tottering, leading to a grinding halt to developmental works for three years and a half. And now the Congress and its government held ‘pratara birodhi divas’ against the BJP! Is not it mockery of democracy and politics?