Congress vice-president Rahul Gandhi said on Thursday the BJP would replace Assam’s history and culture with the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh ideology, if it wins the elections.
The people of Assam would, however, stop this “dangerous design” by emulating Bihar in showing the door to the Bharatiya Janata Party and its regional allies, he added.
Legislative assembly elections to the state will be held in two phases on April 4 and 11 2016, to elect members to 126 constituencies.
Addressing a rally at Moran in eastern Assam’s Dibrugarh district, Gandhi hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for failing to bring back black money stashed away in foreign lands.
“Instead, he lets major bank defaulters like Vijay Mallya go and enjoy life abroad. There’s also the example of Lalit Modi,” Gandhi said.
The Congress vice-president also came down heavily on finance minister Arun Jaitley.
“You must have heard about the fair and lovely scheme he has come out with. This scheme lets any thief, goonda, terrorist, drug dealer, mafia to retain illegally earned money by paying nominal tax,” he said.
Gandhi warned the people to be wary of BJP’s bid to impose RSS ideology on them.
“BJP is controlled by RSS, and if they win here, Assam will be controlled from Nagpur (RSS headquarters). They will ensure your history, culture, language, everything is erased and replaced by what they believe is Indian culture,” he said.
He criticised Modi for failing to keep his promises made during the 2014 Lok Sabha polls.
“Tell Modi to fulfil his promises first and then come to Assam,” he said, advising the prime minister to listen to the voices of the underprivileged before forcing his ‘Mann ki baat’ on them.
“The Modi government has taken away more than they have given you. They have taken away 12 beneficiary schemes for the poor and they have withdrawn the free ration for tea plantation workers,” Gandhi said.
Moran is a major tea growing centre in eastern Assam, and a majority of the voters are Adivasis – often referred to as “tea tribes”. A tea community leader has for long represented the Moran assembly constituency save 2001 when Sarbananda Sonowal, now state BJP chief, won it on an Asom Gana Parishad ticket.
Former MP Paban Singh Ghatowar, a prominent Adivasi leader, is the Congress candidate from Moran assembly constituency. He replaced his wife Jibantara Ghatowar, who was MLA from the constituency since a by-election in 2004.
Ghatowar’s prime rival is Chakradhar Gogoi of BJP.
At Digboi earlier in the day, Gandhi campaigned for party candidate Gautam Dhanowar, whose main rival is BJP’s Suren Phukan.