`Congress pushing country towards another emergency'

GUWAHATI, MARCH 11. Senior Bharatiya Janata Party leader, Venkaiah Naidu, today alleged that the Congress was pushing the country towards another emergency as evident from the developments in Jharkhand, Goa, Bihar and Assam.

Mr. Naidu said this after the police burst teargas shells to disperse thousands of BJP workers in front of the Janata Bhavan, the seat of power in the State. Police also detained thousands of activists and supporters of the Opposition in different parts of the State to foil a "Dispur gherao" programme. Several BJP workers were injured when police used force to disperse the demonstrators at several locations near the capital complex and other parts of the city.

Although Mr. Naidu was stopped from leading a procession from the State BJP headquarters towards the Janata Bhavan at Dispur, thousands of BJP workers led by senior State leaders — Rajen Gohain, V. Satish, Indramoni Bora, Narayan Borkotoki and Bijoya Chakraborty — broke police barricades at several places in the city and held a siege around the capital complex for two hours.

The State unit of the BJP called the "Dispur gherao" to demand the dismissal of the Tarun Gogoi-led Government for its "failure on all fronts."

Addressing party workers, Mr. Naidu said the entire Guwahati city had been virtually turned into a "jail" by the Government. Thousands of BJP workers were illegally detained by police to prevent them from a peaceful demonstration. He said the State Government had no right to continue in power as it had "failed on all fronts."

Mr. Naidu also alleged that the Congress had "links" with the banned United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA).

While the police tried to whisk away Mr. Naidu and other BJP leaders after preventing the demonstrators from proceeding towards Dispur, party workers squatted on the road to prevent the vehicle in which Mr. Naidu was to be taken away.

The national president of the Bharatiya Janata Yuva Morcha, Dharmendra Pradhan, then announced that although Mr. Naidu had been "arrested," the workers would march towards Dispur under the leadership of Mr. Rajen Gohain.

The Kamrup Deputy Commissioner, Sameer Sinha, however, denied that Mr. Naidu had been arrested. He was only escorted by police to ensure his safety. Later, a BJP delegation led by Mr. Naidu called on the Governor, Lt Gen. (retd.) Ajai Singh, and submitted a 14-point "chargesheet" against the Gogoi Government.