File image of Priyanka Gandhi Vadra

Sarupathar/Koliabor/Batadroba(Assam): Congress leader Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday alleged the ruling BJP in Assam was functioning like a mafia and running syndicates.

Addressing election rallies in poll-bound Assam, the AICC general secretary said the BJP’s only policy is to benefit the party and not people.

“BJP is not a political party in Assam … (it) is functioning like a mafia organisation running syndicates of supari, fish, coal, land,” Vadra said.

In an apparent dig at Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and “one of his powerful minister”, the Congress leader alleged that the two are “not even respected in their own party”.

“In the prime minister’s election rallies you must have noticed he sometimes takes the name of one in some meetings or the name of the other at other times. Their remote controls are in Delhi,” she said.

The Congress leader compared Assam’s BJP leadership with ‘Dhritarashtra’ and ‘Shakuni’, characters in the epic Mahabharata, without naming whom she meant.

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Dhritarashtra was a blind king known to be a weak ruler while Shakuni was a political manipulator.

“…in the Assam government, there is a Shakuni Mama- like leader and a Dhritarashtra. Both of them and the BJP have betrayed the people of Assam.

“The ‘Dhritarashtra’ who was at one time called ‘Jatiya Nayak’ (people’s leader) betrayed the six ethnic communities whom he had promised inclusion in the Scheduled Tribes list. But did not do so,” Vadra said.

She alleged that the other leader is like “Shakuni Mama who runs a corrupt government that only cheats people”.

Continuing her attack on the ruling party, Vadra claimed, “BJP has not been able to decide who will be the chief minister. They are not able to respect their own chief minister and spell out the name. If there is no stability and unity in the party, then how will it give a stable government to people?”

The Congress leader also slammed the prime minister for accusing the Congress of insulting Assam and questioning the ability of former Congress chief ministers in the state.

“Which chief ministers did he refer to…was it late Tarun Gogoi who worked tirelessly for the development of the state, gave employment to youth, introduced 30 per cent reservation for women in jobs and 50 per cent seats in panchayat, improved road connectivity, economic progress, protected Assam’s culture and heritage,” Vadra said.

Referring to the anti-CAA movement in Assam, she accused the BJP government here of betraying the people.

“As soon as the BJP returned to power at the Centre they made the Citizenship (Amendment) Act into a law. Police was unleashed on the anti-CAA protestors and five youths lost their lives,” Vadra said.

She exhorted the electorate to vote for Congress so that it could implement the five promises it had made.

The party has promised not to allow CAA to be implemented in Assam, provide five lakh government jobs, 200 units of electricity free of cost per month every month, Rs 2,000 per month to housewives and to raise minimum wages of tea garden workers to Rs 365 a day.

The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, has formed a “Grand Alliance” with the AIUDF, BPF, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD and the Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party (JPP) to fight the assembly polls against the BJP-led NDA.

The Congress leader was in the northeastern state campaigning for Rolina Title (Sarupathar), Prasanta Kumar Saikia (Kaliabor) and Sibamoni Bora (Batadroba).

Elections to the 126-member assembly will be held in three phases with 47 seats going to polls in the first phase on March 27, another 39 constituencies in the second phase on April 1 and 40 seats in the third phase on April 6.

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