Union Home Minister Amit Shah on Thursday attacked two new regional parties in Assam, one of them formed by a group headed by jailed peasants’ rights activist Akhil Gogoi, for their “apparent objective” to help the Congress win the upcoming Assembly polls.
The elections to the 126-member House are scheduled by May.
“Those who led the Assam Agitation have formed political parties with different names to cut the votes of the BJP. Their goal is to help the Congress, which fired on and killed hundreds of youth during that agitation, win the elections,” Mr. Shah said at a public function at Batadrava in Nagaon district.
Batadrava is the birthplace of medieval saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva, who has allegedly been appropriated as a BJP icon. Batadrava is also at the core of the rightwing crusade against alleged grabbing of land of Vaishnavite monasteries across Assam by illegal immigrants, often synonymous with “Bangladeshis” in the State.
“Everybody knows the new regional parties cannot form the government. These parties too know it. The people know that the BJP and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) can make Assam peaceful and an infiltrator-free State,” Mr. Shah said.
The parties the Union Home Minister referred to are the Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and the Akhil Gogoi-led Raijor Dal. The movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act led to the birth of the AJP in 2020, but most of its leaders belonged to the All Assam Students’ Union and associate organisations that spearheaded the Assam Agitation of 1979-85 for ejecting illegal immigrants from the State.
The AGP, now the BJP’s ally, had the same source organisations.
Mr. Shah also slammed the Congress for forging a pre-poll alliance with the minority-based All India United Democratic Front led by Lok Sabha MP and perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal.
“The rhinos are the pride of Assam but the infiltrators used to poach them. The Congress during its rule did nothing to prevent the killings for the greed of votes. Can a party, sitting with Ajmal, stop infiltration? Can it save the lives of the rhinos?” he asked.
“You have aligned with Ajmal to win the elections and you talk about protecting Assam,” he said, targeting the Congress.
Mr. Shah credited Prime Minister Narendra Modi for establishing peace in Assam, referring to the signing of the Bodo peace accord and the surrender of thousands of extremists , including 1,040 belonging to five outfits of the hill district of Karbi Anglong in central Assam a couple of days ago.
He also said the Prime Minister had fast-tracked development projects and freed the State of corruption besides working on ridding it of the “infiltrators”. Mr. Modi’s focus on the northeast was evident from his 35 visits in the last seven years, he said.