Tarun Gogoi: Modi magic has faded, I’ll be back as CM

Neelu Vyas

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Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has said that the Congress will form government in Assam for the fourth time as Modi magic has faded and results will be almost a replica of what happened in Bihar and Delhi.

In an exclusive interview to Rajya Sabha TV, Gogoi slammed the Modi government for polarising the state. He said that it was the Congress which practices the secular and inclusive politics.
On being asked about his trusted aide Himanta Biswa Sarma joining the rival BJP camp, Gogoi said he was good riddance for the party. He even said that Congress was better positioned after Sarma left.

Here are some excerpts from the interview:

What is that one factor that you are relying on to come back for the 4th time in Assam?

Don’t consider BJP a national party, their alliance in Assam is a mixture of regional and sub regional parties. It’s a Khichdi alliance. Congress has an edge because people can see which party can deliver and has experience. 2011 was full of insecurity, disturbance & insurgency. Modi magic has failed in every state. They (BJP) want to divide the people of Assam on religious lines.

What card is the Congress playing?

Congress is playing secular, inclusive cards which will take along Hindus, Muslims Christians and everyone else. BJP’s slogan is sabka saath sablka vikas, but we are actually practising it.

Badrauddin Ajmal, the President of AIUDF says his party will be the kingmaker as no party will get a majority. What do you have to say?

Earlier too without AIUDF, we’ve formed the govt. People are the kingmakers and Ajmal is a nobody.

Your trusted aide Himanta Biswa Sarma has left Congress and joined the BJP. Do you feel some kind of a void?

I’m happy that Himanta Biswa Sarma left the party. He was responsible for fights within the party. He wanted the Congress central leadership to take action against him much earlier. He lost seats in his own district. Biswa’s whole ambition was only to get the CM’s seat.

Is it not true that you were trying to promote dynasty politics. Weren’t you trying to promote your son Gaurav Gogoi at the cost of Sarma?

Sarma joined BJP just to save his skin. If he is intimidated with Gaurav joining the party then what kind of a leader is he? He is corrupt to the core. CBI interrogated him in connection with the Sharda scam.

Don’t you think Congress is on a sticky wicket in Assam this election?

Congress doesn’t function like the RSS. BJP’s politics is that of polarisation. They (BJP) play the Hindu card to capture power. This will cost them dearly.

BJP CM aspirant Sarbananda Sonowal says this election is all about Assamese identity which has gotten lost because of the Congress government?

The mindset of the people of Assam has changed. Assamese culture will be lost if RSS is allowed to pollute Assam.

BJP has turned Bangladeshi migrants issue into a big issue. How will you counter the party on that front?

The issue of migrants has been there for the past 100 years. Certain sections of migrants were allowed to stay in Assam on humanitarian grounds. Problems are prevalent in every election. I’ve been witnessing poll for the past 30 years. Modi hasn’t identified a single illegal migrant till date. Sonowal didn’t raise these issues in the Parliament. They’re trying to exploit sentiments just to get votes.

Do you think what happened in JNU will have any resonance in Assam election?

JNU debacle has had some impact in Assam. Congress is concerned about JNU issue.

Is it true that Kanhaiya is a poster boy for Assam Congress?

Yes, it’s true that Kanhaiya has figured in some of our posters but our message is that only his ideas are heroic. People of Assam projected me as their CM candidate and I will definitely come back.

(Watch the entire interview on To The Point at 10.30 am, 1pm and 5.30 pm on Thursday, only on RSTV)