GUWAHATI: Assam’s finance and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has claimed that communal clashes occur when the Congress rules the country.
He said no state had recorded as many deaths of the minorities as Assam did during the 15-year Congress regime under three-time former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi.
“The Congress was a big party until it virtually getting extinct today. When the party was in power, its sole aim was to scare people to get their votes and rule,” Sarma said at a rally of his party, BJP, in Jania constituency of Lower Assam’s Barpeta district.
He claimed whenever Congress grabbed power, there had been incidents of communal violence in the country. He also claimed that people, belonging to minority communities, had voted for the Congress out of fear.
“But if we look at history, during the 15-year Congress rule (2001-16) under Tarun Gogoi, no state in the country recorded as many deaths of minority people as Assam did,” he said.
Congress slammed Sarma saying he must not forget his days in the grand old party.
“From 2001-15, he was with the Congress. Most decisions of the then government were taken under his leadership. If what he is saying now is correct, he should own moral responsibility for that,” Congress spokesperson Apurba Bhattacharya said.
“He is basically trying to warm up to the Muslims as the BJP needs their votes. He is the same person who once said he had felt like being in Bangladesh when he was travelling from Guwahati to Dhubri,” Bhattacharya added.
Sarma was a trusted lieutenant of Gogoi and a three-time minister while serving in the party until the two fell apart, ostensibly due to the rising hold of Gogoi’s son, Gaurav, in-state Congress.
Along with Jania which is held by the Congress and a Muslim-majority constituency, Rangapara, Ratabari and Sonari are going to by-elections on October 21. Tea workers are in a majority in the three seats which are held by the BJP. The by-elections to all the four seats were necessitated as the sitting MLAs got elected to Lok Sabha.