Politics

Congress Not for Pre-poll Alliance in Assam, Says Gogoi

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi inspecting the progress of ongoing work for installing the statute of the military general of Ahom King Lachitbor Phookan in the middle of the Brahmaputra river in Guwahati on last week. Credit: PTI

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi inspecting the progress of ongoing work for installing the statue of the military general of Ahom King Lachit Borphookan in the middle of the Brahmaputra river in Guwahati on last week. Credit: PTI

Guwahati: The ruling Congress in Assam will not go for any pre-poll alliance with any party for the assembly polls next year but is open to an “understanding” with others to defeat the communal forces, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said today.

Holding a press conference here, Gogoi also said that the BJP has no local leadership in the state and was dominated by “Hindi-speaking” leaders from outside.

“We will not go for an alliance before the polls. We are only for [reaching an] understanding with any party. We must fight communal forces like BJP,” he said.

The Congress is open for an understanding with opposition parties like the Asom Gana Parishad, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and even the RTI activist Akhil Gogoi-led farmers’ body Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti to defeat the BJP in the forthcoming assembly polls, he added.

“I want understanding with one and all, including the media and intellectuals,” Gogoi said.

Last week, BJP national president Amit Shah had said Gogoi was holding secret parleys with the AIUDF and accused the Congress of hatching a secret conspiracy to turn Assam into an extended part of Bangladesh.

Referring to the NDA’s drubbing in the recent Bihar elections, Gogoi said, “It was the battle of Kurukshetra and they were defeated very pathetically. They are now nervous and engaged in false propaganda against me here.”

Launching an attack on the local BJP leadership, he said “the BJP in Assam is run by Hindigiri. The local leaders are spineless. They do not have the Assamese blood in their veins.”

On Sunday, Gogoi made fun of the way the BJP was allegedly distorting the names of Assamese historical personalities and even its own leaders: “BJP’s Assam in-charge Mahendra Singh has referred to Srimanta Sankardeva as Baba Sankardeo, which is totally unacceptable. All these leaders do not even know how to pronounce Assamese names. They call former BJP state president Sidhartha Bhattacharya as Sidharth, present president Sarbananda Sonowal as Sonwal and Himanta Biswa Sarma as Hemant Biswa Karma. Actually the problem lies with these BJP leaders is that they do not understand the local sentiments and issues,” the chief minister had said.

Taking a swipe at Himanta Biswa Sarma, the former Congress minister who quit the party to join the BJP, Gogoi described his former party colleague as an “opportunist”.

“He is like a professional singer. While Himanta was with me, I was the best person on earth. Now there is no one worse than me. He does not have any commitment to any ideology or party,” the chief minister said.

He added that the state government will bring a White Paper by December 20 regarding the Centre’s contribution to Assam during the NDA’s tenure as against the UPA’s rule.

He also criticised the Centre for failing to control rising prices of essential items, including food.

With inputs from The Wire’s staff