GUWAHATI: The Congress’ central leadership on Tuesday petitioned the Election Commission seeking a blanket ban on the election campaign of Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who had allegedly threatened to send Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) chief Hagrama Mohilary to jail by “misusing” the National Investigation Agency (NIA).
“…Foreseeing the looming defeat of his party, Himanta Biswa Sarma made blatant, scandalous, and intimidating statements on 29.03.2021 wherein he openly threatened… BPF chairperson Hagrama Mohilary of sending to jail by misusing the Central agency, NIA,” the Congress wrote in a letter to the Commission.
The BPF is a component of the Congress-led ten-party grand alliance of Opposition. Sarma had on Monday stated that the BPF chief would be jailed if found “encouraging” former militant leader MD Batha to return to the jungle. The police recently said a group of former rebels, led by Batha, had returned to the jungle.
The Congress wrote that Sarma had gone to the extent of saying that the BJP would ensure that the NIA investigates and implicates Mohilary and that he is sent to jail.
“By the said threat, Sarma has attempted to influence the voters to not vote for the Congress Alliance, including BPF…He has sought to cast a malicious and malafide impression on the public that on account of the undue strength of the BJP-led Central government manning the Central agencies, he is in an undue position to control/misuse the NIA and hence, capable of sending Mohilary to jail,” the Congress wrote.
It requested the Commission to exercise its powers under Article 324 of the Constitution and take stern action against the Minister.
The Congress also urged the EC to grant a personal/virtual hearing to a Congress delegation, disqualify Sarma’s candidature, prohibit him permanently from campaigning during the remaining period of Assam elections, issue directions for the filing of FIR/complaint against him for violation of, inter-alia, Sections 123(2)(a)(i), 123(4), 123(7) of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and Section 171C of the Indian Penal Code and initiate action against the BJP under Section 16A of the Election Symbols (Reservation and Allotment) Order, 1968, to withdraw its recognition for violating model code of conduct.