Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi’s last rally during his two-day pre-poll tour of Assam saw the Congress party make a strong regional pitch by painting the BJP, “remote-controlled” by the RSS, as a threat to the state’s history and culture.
“The Congress party respects the history and culture of Assam. We pledge to protect it. Narendra Modi wants Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur to be remote-controlled from Nagpur. They (the BJP) want to destroy the history, culture and peace of Assam. They want to destroy the thinking of Assam,” said Rahul during a party rally in Sivasagar at the end of his 6-km padyatra Tuesday.
Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi went a step further and called the BJP an “outside force”, likening the party to the Mughals who invaded Assam several times. “Let us declare a war against them. Let us take up the hendang (traditional Assamese sword). Rahul Gandhi is our chief commander. We must save the art and culture of Assam, the birthplace of Sankaradeva and Ajan Faqir from the outside forces the way Lachit Barphukan did. This Mughal force, the BJP, must be defeated…The war has already begun with Rahul Gandhi leading us. We will defeat them in the election two months from now,” said Gogoi.
During his speech, Rahul too invoked the 16th century saint-reformer Sankaradeva and Sufi saint Ajan Faqir to stress on the state’s culture of inclusiveness. He began his speech in Assamese, two lines read from a piece of paper. He also joined Gogoi and APCC chief Anjan Dutta in some Bihu dance moves.
He also visited the historic Shiva Doul and stopped over at a madrasa for 30 minutes before the rally.
Speaking at the madrasa, Rahul said: “The RSS dislikes the harmony and culture of Assam. It wants to run the country from Nagpur. But we will not allow them to destroy Assam’s culture.”