GUWAHATI: Congress has upped the ante ahead of Assam Assembly elections. Rahul Gandhi on Sunday said the party will not allow the implementation of Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), if it comes to power in the state. “No matter what, CAA will not happen,” Gandhi said at a rally in Sivasagar, pointing to the crossed CAA written on the traditional Assamese gamosa or upper-body wear he and other leaders were sporting. In an attempt to warm up to tea workers, he promised to increase wages, which has been a long-standing demand of the plantation workers.
“What can you buy with Rs 167? I want to tell you that we will hike your wages to `365,” Gandhi said. Facing a tough battle in the wake of the poll alignment between Congress and the minority- based All India United Democratic Front and the birth of regional parties Asom Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal, BJP is trying to woo the tea community. The state has 126 Assembly seats and in about one-third of them, votes of tea garden workers determine the fate of candidates.
Gandhi also committed to protecting the principles of the Assam Accord signed between All Assam Students’ Union and the Central government in 1985, at the end of six years of agitation against illegal immigration. “Congress leaders and I will defend and protect the principles of Assam Accord. We will not retreat one inch,” Gandhi asserted.
The former Congress chief said Assam has the issue of illegal immigration, but the people in the state have the confidence and ability to resolve it through dialogues. Trying to strike a local chord, he said that he learnt many things from former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, adding that whenever he visited Assam, he made it a point to speak to the late leader. “Given Assam’s diversity, it’s is a complex state for those coming from outside. He (Gogoi) would educate me on different subjects.
Every time I returned, I learnt something new,” he added. Gandhi said he was hurt when he saw Gogoi’s name on the list of (Padma Bhushan) awardees because it also contained the name of a former bureaucrat from the Prime Minister’s Office, who tried different things to be on the PM’s good books. “Gogoi was my guru. So I didn’t like it,” Gandhi said.