CM deputes trusted lieutents to defend citadel; government machinery out in full force at beneficiaries meet; scramble over goodies ends in fiasco
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Oct 4: Two rallies in Titabor - Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi's home constituency - on Sunday set the tone for the 2016 election campaign in the State.
The State BJP bigwigs led by president Siddhartha Bhattacharya descended at the party's Jajagaran Sabha organized near Titabor Tiniali, but it was former Congress minister Himanta Biswa Sarma who tore into the Chief Minister on his home turf. BJP ticket aspirant from Titabor Hementa Kalita and Teok aspirant Meera Borthakur were also present at the rally.
The Congress' counter was pre-planned. The State government hustled with a programme to hold a beneficiaries' meet at Titabor Stadium today - a few hundred metres away - apparently to sabotage the BJP's show of strength.
Gogoi fielded a bunch of his 'generals' - Forest Minister Etuwa Munda, PWD Minister Ajanta Neog, Agriculture Minister Rockybul Hussain, Jorhat MLA Ra Goswami, Mariani MLA Rup Jyoti Kurmi, former MP Deep Gogoi - to fight fire with fire. Beneficiaries lined up in thousands to collect weaving yarns, power tillers and even cash at the government programme.
But the BJP claimed though the people used the government-provided vehicles and buses to come to the town and collect the assistance provided by the government, they later turned up at the party's rally.
"It is clear that the Congress is alarmed at the strides the BJP is making in the State. The party is now using the government machinery to frustrate the BJP. But the people are wise. They will not be swayed by these petty yarn-blanket politics," said a senior BJP leader.
At the BJP rally, Gogoi's once most trusted lieutent Himanta Biswa Sarma poured sorn over the tactics adopted by the Congress. "The Congress is using the government machinery to counter the BJP. The Congress wants to keep the people poor so that it can always indulge in the politics of yarn and blanket. I have transformed Jalukbari into a district, while the Chief Minister has even failed to upgrade Titabor to a full-fledged subdivision. Has the Chief Minister ever announced that the youths of this town will be given at least a third or fourth category job?", Sarma thundered.
The government's beneficiary meet, however, turned into a fiasco towards the end. Chaos marred the event as the beneficiaries scrambled to collect the goodies. A number of women were injured and had to be provided medical treatment after they were injured in the stampede-like situation.