As the April-May state elections draw closer, political barbs are getting sharper. On Sunday, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi made a sensational charge against challenger BJP’s CM candidate Sarbananda Sonowal and poll ally AGP’s (Asom Gana Parishad) senior leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.
Gogoi, seeking a fourth term in the face of strong anti-incumbency, claimed that in the last assembly poll, the AGP took money from Congress to fight against the BJP. “This time, too, they came to us and started bargaining. But the deal did not materialise.”.
The veteran Congressman reiterated that his party will form the government for the fourth time in a row with absolute majority as both the main rival and its regional partner AGP have given up on their principles and ideologies.
“AGP has given up its regional character. The party wants money and is desperate to grab power,” Gogoi said during a media interaction in Guwahati.
Gogoi claimed the CBI had filed chargesheet against Mahanta, a former CM, in the letter-of-credit scam, but the then governor saved him. “Now the BJP-AGP alliance is making allegations against me that I am corrupt. People of Assam know who is corrupt and who is clean.”
Gogoi said Sonowal, too, was chargesheeted by the CBI in the Saurav Bora murder case in Dibrugarh University. Bora, leader of a left wing students’ body, was shot dead on campus on May 25, 1986. Sonowal was leader of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) in the university at that time. He and five others were accused in the case, but eventually the Gauhati high court discharged Sonowal.
Gogoi not only criticised former cabinet colleague Himanta Biswa Sarma, now the poll in-charge of the BJP, but also raked up the issue of ‘secret killing’, the extra-judicial murders of Ulfa leaders’kin and well-wishers between 1998 and 2001 when the AGP was in power in the state. “People of Assam can never forget the horror of secret killing. Now BJP fields two candidates against whom there are allegations of secret killing”.