The ruling Congress party in Assam and its ally, the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), today literally sounded the poll bugle ahead of next year's assembly elections by taking the opposition head on and claiming to form the government for the third straight term.
“The opposition parties, especially the AGP (Asom Gana Parishad), have just taught the people of Assam how to launch agitations and nothing else,” Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said.
The chief minister was speaking at a massive public rally here attended by almost all his cabinet colleagues and several leaders of the BPF. Elections in Assam are due in the first half of 2011.
“Peace and development are the twin mantra of our government and we shall continue with the same slogan as we move ahead,” Gogoi said, literally launching the party's election campaign.
The AGP, Assam's main opposition party, came in for bitter criticism.
“The AGP in collaboration with some black marketers have launched several agitations in recent months to protest price rise, but the people of Assam are well aware of their dirty tactics,” the chief minister said.
“Assam has witnessed fast paced development in the last nine years of our government and today we can boldly say that the state's economy has shown an upward swing compared to the AGP's tenure,” he added.
Reacting to opposition charges of ministers being involved in the multi-million rupee financial scam in Assam's North Cachar Hills district, the chief minister asked the AGP and other opposition leaders to furnish evidence.
“I have all along been saying that if any minister is found guilty, then action would be taken against them. Let the opposition name the ministers with evidence.
“The opposition parties have become redundant in Assam with their leaders now becoming desperate for power after being humiliated in the last two assembly elections,” Gogoi said.
The chief minister said the Congress and its ally would make it for the third time in a row.
“We have full confidence on the people of Assam,” he added.