GUWAHATI: In an attempt to woo the tea workers in Assam, the Congress on Sunday promised to hike their wages.
Addressing a rally in the state’s Sivasagar, party leader Rahul Gandhi said the wages would be hiked from Rs 167 to Rs 365 if the Congress is voted to power.
“What can you buy with Rs 167? I want to tell the tea workers that we will hike your wages to Rs 365,” Gandhi said.
Hike in wages is a long-standing demand of the tea workers.
Faced with a tough election in the wake of the poll alignment between Congress and minority-based All India United Democratic Front and the birth of regional parties Asom Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal, the BJP is trying to warm up to the tea workers.
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The state has 126 Assembly seats and in one/third of them, the votes of tea garden workers determine the fate of candidates. The BJP has taken up a series of initiatives for the welfare of the community.
Gandhi also committed to protect the principles of the Assam Accord signed between All Assam Students’ Union and the Central government in 1985 at the end of six-year-long bloody Assam Agitation against illegal immigration.
“The Congress leaders and I will defend and protect the principles of the Assam Accord. We will not retreat one inch,” Gandhi asserted.
He said Assam has the issue of illegal immigration but the people in the state have the confidence and capability to resolve it through dialogues.
Pointing to the crossed Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) on the Assamese “gamosa” that he and other Congress leaders on the dais were wearing, he said, “No matter what, we will not allow the CAA.”
Recalling the lessons that he learnt from former Chief Minister the late Tarun Gogoi, Gandhi said whenever he visited Assam in the past, he got the chance to talk to the departed leader.
“Given Assam’s diversity, it is a complex state for those coming from outside. He (Gogoi) would educate me on different subjects. Every time I returned, I felt I learnt something new,” Gandhi said.
He said he was hurt when he had seen Gogoi’s name on the list of awardees (of Padma Bhushan) this year as it also had the name of a former bureaucrat from the Prime Minister’s Office who would always pamper the PM.
“Gogoi was my guru, so I did not like it,” Gandhi said.
He reiterated his “hum do, hamaare do” jibe at BJP stating “They say hum do, hamaare do, baki sob maar lo”.