GUWAHATI: Congress launched its election campaign in poll-bound Assam with Congress leader Rahul Gandhi's rally in Sivsagar earlier today. The former Congress President started his poll campaign at Sivasagar Boarding Field.
Congress leaders, including Rahul Gandhi, were seen wearing 'No CAA' gamosas during the rally. This is the first visit of Rahul Gandhi to Assam this year.
Rahul Gandhi along with other leaders of the Congress Party and the crowd gathered at the rally observed two minutes of silence to pay their tributes to the farmers who died in the ongoing farmers' protests against the three contentious farm laws introduced by Narendra Modi-led central government.
Addressing the rally, Rahul Gandhi said no power can break the state while addressing a public rally. He added that whoever attempts to touch Assam Accord or spread hatred will be taught a lesson by his party and the people of Assam. Gandhi asserted that the party is set to protect the principles of the Assam Accord. He said, "The Congress leaders and I will defend and protect the principles of the Assam Accord. We will not retreat one inch."
Assam Accord was signed between All Assam Students' Union and the Central government in 1985 at the end of six-year-long Assam Agitation against illegal immigration.
Addressing the tea workers in Assam, Rahul Gandhi said the daily wages for tea workers would be increased from Rs 167 to Rs 365 if the Congress is voted to power. "What can you buy with Rs 167? I want to tell the tea workers that we will hike your wages to Rs 365," Gandhi said.
The Congress leader also felicitated Shri Uma Kanta Baruah, who is the grandson of Swahid Jiuram Dulia Baruah. Jiuram Dulia Baruah was sentenced to death in 1830 for burning down a British camp at Rangpur.
Rahul Gandhi also talked about the former Chief Minister of Assam the late Tarun Gogoi and recalled his interactions with the departed leader. He said that Gogoi was his 'guru'. He said, "Given Assam's diversity, it is a complex state for those coming from outside. He (Gogoi) would educate me on different subjects. Every time I returned, I felt I learnt something new."
Gandhi took a jibe at BJP and the incumbent state government. He said Assam needs a chief minister from their "own people" who will listen to their issues and try to resolve them. "Remote control can operate a TV but not a CM. The current CM listens to Nagpur and Delhi. If Assam gets a CM like this again, it will not benefit the people. The youths need a CM who will give jobs to them," he said.
He also took a dig at the Prime Minister, Union Home Minister and "businessmen close to them". Gandhi said, "I have devised a new slogan for Assam -- Hum do, humare do; Assam ke liye humare aur do, aur sab kuch loot lo." He alleged that natural resources and PSUs in the state are being "sold off" to two leading businessmen of the country.
Gandhi also accused the Modi government of "looting" public money during the Covid-19 pandemic and waiving huge amounts of loans of his "two businessmen friends".
Meanwhile, Assm Congress launched its campaign "Assam Bachao Yatra" led by Congress Deputy Leader in Lok Sabha Gaurav Gogoi to gear up for the upcoming state Assembly polls. Congress leaders are taking bus ride across the state to meet voters.
Congress had announced last month that it will form an alliance with five political parties to challenge the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the upcoming state Assembly polls. During a press conference on January 20 in Guwahati, Ripun Bora, President, Assam Congress had said that Congress, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Communist Party of India (CPI), CPI (Marxist), CPI (Marxist-Leninist) and Anchalik Gana Morcha are forming an alliance for the upcoming polls.
The elections for the 126-seat Assam Assembly are likely to take place in April-May this year. However, the election schedule is yet to be announced by the Election Commission.