Unveiling what appeared to be the centrepiece of the party’s manifesto for the Assembly elections in Assam, Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra announced Tuesday five “guarantees”, including a law to nullify the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, if the party is voted to power.
Other than the law to nullify the CAA — Priyanka told a rally in Tezpur that it would be the party’s first step — the promises include five lakh government jobs, raising the wages of tea garden workers to Rs 365, free electricity up to 200 units per household, Rs 2,000 monthly income support to homemakers. “The BJP has attacked the very existence of Assam. They are waging a war against it… They had said before elections that CAA will not be implemented, but they did,” Priyanka said at the rally.
Influential groups and several parties consider the CAA to be detrimental to the interests of the indigenous people of Assam. “They have spoken about the CAA all across the country, but here in Assam, they did not have the courage to talk about CAA,” she said.
When the Assam Accord was signed by her father, the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi, its main aim, she said, was to protect Assam’s culture and not let the Centre dictate anything to Assam. “The BJP has done the exact opposite of that in the last five years,” she said.
She said the BJP makes promises but never fulfils them. “They said they will protect ‘jati, mati and bheti’ (community, land and hearth) of Assam. They said CAA will not be implemented. They said provisions of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord will be implemented… You trusted them and gave them your votes… After winning elections, they passed CAA. Now when they come to you again, they will again make tall promises,” she said.
Clause 6 of the Accord says “Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people”.
Targeting Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Priyanka said: “Whenever you have struggled, the country’s PM has not visited you… You suffered in lockdown and there were floods also then, but the PM did not come to visit you. He did not announce it to be a national disaster.”
On Tuesday, she visited tea gardens and interacted with the workers there. The wages of tea garden workers is a long-standing issue in Assam. Last month, the Assam government announced that the wage of tea garden workers would be increased from Rs 167 to Rs 217 per day. Moreover, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, at a rally in February, had said that his party would ensure a wage of Rs 365 per day if elected to power.
It is unusual for an AICC general secretary in charge of another state to make such announcements.
In the past, Priyanka has rarely campaigned in states headed to Assembly elections. She was in Assam during the 2019 Lok Sabha elections and held a road show in Silchar, campaigning for Mahila Congress president Sushmita Dev. This time, she has campaigned for two days.
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