Assam CM questions legitimacy of surname used by Indira Gandhi's family
Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rahul Gandhi (file photo)

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday questioned the legitimacy of former Prime Minister late Indira Gandhi and her family members using the ‘Gandhi’ surname, calling them ‘sardar (leader) of duplicates’.

He also slammed the Congress for using the word INDIA’ as the acronym for the opposition bloc Indian National Developmental Inclusive Alliance, claiming that the grand old party uses India and Bharat as per its political convenience.

The Congress hit back at Sarma, questioning how someone’s surname can be a cause of concern for Assam when it is faced with more pressing problems, and asked him to concentrate on solving those first.

Addressing the concluding day of the two-day national executive of BJP’s Mahila Morcha, Sarma said, “I have told them (Gandhis) that you are the sardar of duplicates’. (Mahatma) Gandhi ji gave us independence and they grabbed the surname. All are duplicate Gandhis.”

“I researched for long by which formula Indira, Rahul, Rajiv and Priyanka became Gandhi, but I couldn’t find it. India’s first scam was with their surname,” he claimed.

He added that if some dacoit were to use the Gandhi surname, it would not make him a sage.

“My humble request to Rahul Gandhi ji, please leave your duplicate surname as it is not original,” said Sarma who quit the Congress in 2015 to join the BJP.

On opposition bloc INDIA, Sarma accused the Congress of not doing anything for the country when it was in power, and claimed that it was only after Narendra Modi became the PM, that a strong sense of patriotism was being imbibed among the people.

“You (Congress) all have committed a big sin by taking the name of INDIA as you had never done anything to increase the pride of India. You only worked to increase your family’s clout and fragmented the country. You don’t have to right to call yourself India or Bharat,” he said.

Sarma also took a dig at Congress’ Bharat Jodo Yatra’, stating that the party had used the word Bharat’ then as Karnataka state elections were due and has now as per political convenience, moved on to use India’.

He said that though India’ is also used to mean the country, great saints and sages had referred to it as Bharat’ and he was following their footsteps in choosing the name.

The chief minister also praised Modi for giving India its rightful place in the world and said the country was on its way to becoming a Viswa Guru’ under the PM.

Reacting to Sarma’s remarks, Congress spokesperson Apurba Bhattacharyya said, “Such words are unbecoming of a chief minister. Who is he to comment on whether Rahul ji is worthy of the Gandhi surname or not? Does it concern the state’s problems in any way? How can someone’s surname be a problem for the state?”

Bhattacharyya said there are multitudes of problems facing the state and the chief minister should focus on them.

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“Along with being the CM, he also holds the Home portfolio. When the police are talking about acting tough against corruption, its SP-level officer is being arrested for misdoings. The CM should first focus on solving the state’s problems and not engage in tactics to divert public attention,” the Congress leader added.

While investigating an alleged extortion case, the Assam CID arrested 10 people, including SP and DSP level police officers, in Bajali district recently.

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