GUWAHATI: Congress leader and Member of Parliament Gaurav Gogoi has said that the anti-CAA (Citizenship Amendment Act) sentiment has brought together the Congress, AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front), the Ajit Bhuyan-led regional front, BPF (Bodo People's Front) and the Left parties. He specifically stated that the Mahajoot (Grand Alliance) is not an "unholy Congress-AIUDF nexus" as the BJP is trying to brand it.
Talking to The Sentinel, Gaurav Gogoi said, "We're campaigning on a positive note. We have focused on joblessness, development, culture, and language among other burning issues of the State. On the contrary, the BJP is engaged in a negative campaign. They evade issues like that of joblessness, development, price rise etc., as they utterly failed to keep their promises made on these fronts during the past five years. The BJP also failed on several of their other promises on fronts like tackling floods and erosion as well as deportation of Bangladeshis.
"The lack of poll planks on positive issues has made the BJP to single out Badruddin Ajmal from the grand alliance and attack him in each and every meeting."
When asked as to why the Congress has roped in Badruddin Ajmal who was always kept at a safe distance by former Chief Minister (late) Tarun Gogoi, the MP said, "It depends on the ground situation. Even though he (late Tarun Gogoi) was against any alliance with the AIUDF, in the post-CAA scene he agreed to join hands with Ajmal's party. The component parties of our alliance have teamed up under the anti-CAA wave, of which Ajmal is an integral part."
When asked on the assumption of a section of leaders that in the event of the Congress-AIUDF coming to power in the State, the AIUDF may get an upper hand to sub-serve their agenda, Gaurav Gogoi said, "If our alliance comes to power, it's certain that the Chief Minister will be from the Congress. This is also a fact that the Chief Minister will be from an indigenous community of the State. Our alliance also has other parties, including the Left and the BPF. In such a setup, how can a particular party (AIUDF) get an upper hand? The BJP is giving an impression that if the 'Mahajoot' comes to power, the AIUDF will get an upper hand. Such a fear doesn't have any basis.
"The Congress has always been protecting the language and culture of the State, and will continue to do it. This has been reflected in our election manifesto also. This is the reason why the last Congress government in the State started the NRC (National Register of Citizens) -update exercise."
When asked on the claim of a section of political pundits that the anti-CAA wave has met a roadblock somewhere and got lost, Gaurav Gogoi said, "The CAA has stirred up the emotion of the people of Assam. It's in the core of everybody's heart. When it will strike a chord, emotional response is a certainty. Even a section of BJP leaders know that the CAA is not in the interest of Assam. They, however, cannot express it. If the CAA is not opposed now, the BJP will impose even harsher Act on us spelling disaster to our culture and fraternity."