Updated: March 18, 2021 10:38:52 pm
How is the Congress campaign going?
There is a great deal of positive buzz around our campaigns, especially the five guarantees we have announced — a law that nullifies the CAA, five lakh government jobs, raising tea workers’ wages to Rs 365, free electricity up to 200 units per household, and Rs 2,000 monthly income support to homemakers. Our leaders are moving forward in a united fashion, conducting town hall meetings and interacting with people at the grassroots levels. We have seen two major rallies recently, one by Rahul Gandhi and the other by Priyanka Gandhi Vadra. There was a huge response.
What is your assessment of the prospects of the Congress-led Grand Alliance?
My late father pushed for this alliance with the AIUDF and other like-minded parties early last year during the Rajya Sabha elections. The Congress and the AIUDF came together to nominate journalist Ajit Bhuyan to the Rajya Sabha. For people of Assam, when we officially announced the alliance in January, it was already a fait accompli… The reason is that in post-CAA Assam, the people of the state want all the parties that have opposed the CAA to be united. Therefore, it is a natural alliance of all parties including the Left front… People of Assam have welcomed this alliance.
The ‘mahajot’ has been strengthen by the entry of Hagrama Mohilary’s Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). He is a very tall leader of Assam. His influence goes beyond the area that falls under the Bodoland Territorial Council. He is a popular mass leader. He had good relations with the Congress earlier, and it was a ‘welcome back home’ moment for him. Apart from the 12 seats the BPF holds in the Bodoland area, there are at least 19 seats where the Bodo community holds influence.
But the two new regional parties, the AJP and the RD, which came out of the anti-CAA movement in the state are not with the mahajot. Will that affect the alliance?
I don’t think the new alliance will affect us. In many seats, both of them are contesting against each other. It’s upto them to decide their strategy, but we will continue to raise our voice against Akhil Gogoi’s incarceration. It is unjust. At the same time, we are confident that we already have the necessary numbers to win this election.
How do you see the BJP’s campaign in Assam?
(Polarisation) is the BJP’s usual way of running away from real issues such as unemployment and inflation, the CAA, exclusion of 19 lakh people from the NRC, the non-implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, and the failure to grant ST status to six communities as promised by them. When there is a great amount of resentment and pain amongst people, then, no doubt, the BJP will use polarisation as a means to divert people’s mind.
Why are you not contesting from the Titabor seat which your father represented for 20 years?
The absence of my father has left a huge vacuum not only in the party but in the politics of the state. After almost 50 years, we are going into an election where he is not there to lead the Congress. But I am confident we will triumph.
Regarding the Titabor seat, it was my father’s decision. When he was under treatment, in a private conversation, he told me that the ticket should be given to someone from outside the family. We are respecting his decision. That is what I impressed upon the AICC as well.
The Congress has prominent faces in Assam but you are going into the election without a CM face.
Our campaign in Assam is one of the most united and synchronised campaigns that I have seen. I thank the Congress leadership. Right now, our sole focus is on reaching out to people. In the days to come, we will release the manifesto, and we will put forward some more promises and guarantees which will uplift economic conditions of people. We are sure the ‘mahajot’ is forming the government. After forming the government, our Congress president will decide ultimately who will become the CM.
📣 The Indian Express is now on Telegram. Click here to join our channel (@indianexpress) and stay updated with the latest headlines
- The Indian Express website has been rated GREEN for its credibility and trustworthiness by Newsguard, a global service that rates news sources for their journalistic standards.