Other States

Communal clashes happen during Congress rule: Himanta Biswa Sarma

Himanta Biswa Sarma claims that the State recorded the most number of deaths of people belonging to the minority communities when the Congress was in power

Communal clashes happen only when the Congress rules the country, Assam Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has said.

Addressing a BJP rally on Monday in Jania constituency of western Assam’s Barpeta district, he claimed the State recorded the most number of deaths of people belonging to the minority communities during the Congress rule.

Jania is one of the four Assembly constituencies where by-elections are scheduled on October 21.

He was particularly critical of the 15-year Congress reign under former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi that ended in 2016. Mr. Sarma was a Minister for much of the period before falling out with Mr. Gogoi allegedly over the latter’s bid to promote his parliamentarian son Gaurav Gogoi and joining the BJP in August 2015.

“The Congress was a big party on the verge of extinction. When the party was in power, its sole aim was to scare people to get their votes and rule,” Mr. Sarma said.

He claimed that the minorities have voted for the Congress out of fear, but that did not guarantee them immunity from communal violence during Congress rule.

Congress hits back

The Assam Pradesh Congress Committee retaliated by reminding Mr. Sarma of his days in the grand old party. “If communal violence happened during the Congress rule, he should own moral responsibility for being a part of that government,” Congress spokesperson Apurba Bhattacharya said.

The Congress said the minorities in Assam were aware of Mr. Sarma’s anti-Muslim views and would not be swayed by the BJP’s bid to woo them.

Jania is the only Muslim-majority constituency among the four going to polls. The other three – Rangapara, Ratabari and Sonari – are dominated by tea plantation workers who gravitated from the Congress to the BJP as bulk voters.

The by-elections to all the four seats became necessary as all the MLAs got elected to the Lok Sabha. Three MPs belong to the BJP and one to the Congress.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 7:53:14 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/communal-clashes-happen-during-congress-rule-himanta-biswa-sarma/article29689723.ece

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