Recognise, question those not working for you: Priyanka in Assam
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday urged voters in Assam to recognise and question those elected representatives and ministers who are not working to protect their interests.
Gandhi arrived in the poll-bound state on a two-day visit, her first this year, earlier in the day and took part in several programmes. The visit, a fortnight after her brother Rahul’s trip, is expected to boost Congress’s prospects in the coming election.
“You need to recognise your leaders and those politicians who come and stand before you during elections and make promises. If you don’t recognise their truth, you won’t be able to change your future for the better,” she said while addressing party workers at Lakhimpur in Upper Assam.
Gandhi was launching the party’s statewide campaign against rising unemployment and the alleged failure of the ruling BJP government to fulfil its promise made in 2016 of creating jobs on a mass scale.
“Those who came to you in the last election and promised to give 2.5 million jobs weren’t able to give even 80,000. You need to recognise them. You also need to recognise those who travel across the state on chartered planes at all times and comes to you riding bicycles during election,” she said.
“You need to know where your welfare lies. Assam has lot of potential. You can send your products all over the country. But the opposite is happening. Products like gamosa (traditional scarf-towel) are coming from outside. Even fish is being imported from Andhra Pradesh. Why is it happening?” Gandhi asked.
She urged people to ask these questions to those in power. Gandhi urged them to also question why Assam’s industries, tea-gardens and oil fields are being handed over to outsiders.
“The people running the Assam government and the government in Centre are not worried about your good. They don’t want to give recognition to your culture or strengthen it. Till they don’t understand you well, your future is not secure,” she said.
The Congress leader blamed the BJP-led state government and Centre for unemployment and inflation. “Your future and the future of your state and nation are in your hands. You need to understand this responsibility well and take control of your future. The state government didn’t do anything for you in five years,” she said.
Without taking names, Gandhi blamed leaders in Delhi of not visiting Assam when the annual floods take place or when people were in trouble due to the Covid-19 lockdown.
“But the same people visit you five-six times before election. The truth is before you. You need to choose between those who make tall claims but are not able to fulfil them, and those who have worked, set up industries, created jobs, waived loans and were with you during floods,” she said.
“Please cast your vote carefully. This vote is not for a party. It is for Assam, your existence and to save your culture. Especially my young brothers and sisters, this vote is to protect your future. In order to do that, please vote for Congress and those who are part of our ‘mahajut’ (grand alliance),” Gandhi added.
Earlier, soon after landing at Lokapriya Gopinath Bordoloi international airport in Guwahati, she visited the Kamakhya Temple, the sacred ‘shakti-peeth’ dedicated to Goddess Kamakhya located on Nilachal Hill in the city.
“I had been thinking of visiting Kamakhya Temple for long and it was fulfilled today. I prayed to the goddess and sought her blessings for my family. I also prayed for the welfare of Assam and people of the state,” Gandhi told journalists at the temple.
She interacted with tea garden workers in Biswanath district. She is scheduled to visit Leteku Pukhuri, the birthplace of Madhavdeb, the 16th century Vaishnavite preacher and chief disciple of Srimanta Sankardev.
Terming Gandhi’s assertions as baseless, the ruling BJP stated that people of Assam have tried and tested Congress several times and won’t be fooled again by the party’s promises.
“One needs to question how many times Priyanka or Rahul visited Assam during the past floods. Before accusing others, one needs to look at one’s own actions. By joining hands with All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Congress has shown its true colour. People will give them a befitting reply in the election,” Assam BJP spokesperson Rupam Goswami said.
Assam will witness a three-phased election with start of voting on March 27, followed by April 1 and April 6. The Congress has already stitched up a pre-poll alliance with BPF, AIUDF, three Left parties and a newly formed regional outfit.