‘Sonowal is Dhritarashtra, Himanta is Shakuni': Priyanka in dig at Assam BJP
Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday compared Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to Dhritarashtra and senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to Shakuni---both characters of the epic Mahabharata---during her election rallies in Assam.
“The truth is there are two factions of BJP in Assam. In the state government we have a leader like Shakuni and Dhritarashtra,” Vadra said at a rally in Upper Assam’s Sarupathar without naming Sonowal and Sarma.
Dhritarashtra was a blind king whose love for his sons, the Kauravas, in the succession struggle with his younger brother Pandu’s sons, the Pandavas, led to the Kurukshetra War. Shakuni was the devious maternal uncle of the Kauravas, who played a key role in the events that led to the war.
“Both Dhritarashtra and Shakuni have cheated people of Assam. The Dhritarashtra like leader who was at one time called ‘Jatiya Nayak’ (Leader of the Community) didn’t give special status to six communities as promised, the scam that took place during recruitment of sub-inspectors happened under his watch and most important of all, his government enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) despite promising not to,” said Vadra.
The Congress leader was referring to the BJP’s promise of giving scheduled tribe (ST) status to Tai Ahoms, Morans, Muttocks, Koch-Rajbongshis, Chutias and the tea-tribe community, irregularities in appointments in police and enactment of CAA, which is opposed by many in Assam over fears of large scale influx of infiltrators from Bangladesh.
“The Shakuni like leader indulges in corruption and indulges in a kind of politics which cheats people. His name was in the charge-sheet prepared by BJP ahead of the 2014 general election and now he has become the garland of their necks and giving dignity to their stage,” Vadra said accusing the BJP government of indulging in corruption.
Her reference was to Himanta Biswa Sarma, who was earlier with the Congress and joined BJP in 2015 ahead of the last assembly polls. His name had surfaced in the Saradha ponzi scam and Louis Berger bribery scam, but till date Sarma has not been indicted in them.
Making a reference to Bhupen Hazarika’s popular song-‘Ami Asomiya, Nohou Dukhia’ (We Assamese will never be poor), Vadra said that in the past five years, the Bharatiya Janata Party-led coalition in the state has filled lives of people in Assam with poverty and sadness.
“They promised to work for you, but they didn’t do that. A Niti Ayog report mentions that poverty in Assam has increased during BJP rule. Today the state is full of syndicates (that control trade of various commodities-legal and illegal) and there’s no governance,” Vadra said at a rally in Sarupathar.
The Congress leader spoke about the five guarantees-non-implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in Assam, ₹2000 every month to housewives, 200 units of free electricity to all households, increase daily wages of tea garden workers to ₹365 and creation of 5 lakh government jobs.
“The BJP enacted CAA which will divide Assam. The Prime Minister when he addressed election rallies in the state keeps mum on the legislation, but the same BJP leaders promise implementation of CAA in their meetings in West Bengal,” Vadra said at another rally in Kaliabor. She addressed a third rally at Batadroba, the birthplace of 15th-16th century saint scholar Srimanta Sankardev.
Polling for 126 assembly seats in Assam will take place in three phases on March 27 (47 seats), April 1 (39 seats) and April 6 (40 seats).