Himanta would have been nowhere without Congress: Jairam Ramesh

The party gave Himanta Biswa Sarma "identity and position" during its rule in Assam, says Ramesh

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh (photo: PTI)
Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh (photo: PTI)


Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh claimed that Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma "would have been nowhere" without the grand old party which had given him "identity and position" during its rule in the state.

The Congress general secretary, in an interview with PTI in Guwahati, claimed that Sarma was among the first to quit the grand old party when it lost power and join the "washing machine of BJP".

"The Congress gave him identity and position, along with authority and responsibility, during the tenure of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi but he chose to betray the party when it was not in power. It is a matter of great sorrow that those given a responsible position turn out to be opportunists. But that has not shattered our self-confidence," he said.

"Opportunists" leaving the Congress actually work in the party's favour, making way for ideologically committed youngsters, the Rajya Sabha MP said.

Terming Sarma's claim that Congressmen are quitting the party in hordes to join the BJP a "psychological game", Ramesh said the party's state unit chief Bhupen Kumar Borah has given him a "reply in the strongest possible language".

Borah has filed a defamation case against Sarma for claiming that he would join the BJP soon.

Ramesh claimed that if the Congress returns to power at the Centre, "all regional parties and so-called regional satraps will return to our fold".

"I can assure you that there will be a reverse migration – whether in Assam, Nagaland or Manipur. They will all return once the Congress-led INDIA government comes to power in Delhi," he claimed.

Asked about filing of an FIR against Rahul Gandhi during Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Assam, Ramesh said he raised a very "fundamental issue" that while there is "GST across the country; in Assam, additionally, there is HST, which is a service tax", in an apparent reference to the CM.

The yatra received a massive response during its eight-day Assam leg, he said.

Ramesh said Congress has fielded both young and energetic, as well as experienced candidates in Assam this election.

"Nagaon's sitting MP Pradyut Bordoloi is a very experienced parliamentarian. Jorhat candidate Gaurav Gogoi is the voice of the Congress in Lok Sabha and has spoken on foreign and defence policies. In fact, he had opened the debate on the 2023 no-confidence motion on the prime minister's silence on Manipur," he said.

"It is important to recognise that what has been happening in Manipur in the last 11 months is only a trailer of what will happen in other parts of Northeast if the BJP and RSS are allowed to grow further in the region," the Rajya Sabha MP said.

The BJP has already abrogated Article 370 and now, special provisions for northeastern states under Article 371 A, B, C, F, G and H for Nagaland, Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, Mizoram and Arunachal Pradesh respectively are under threat, he claimed.

"Ours is a land of great diversity and we have to protect it. While Congress stresses unity, the BJP seeks uniformity. This is a battle between those who want to strengthen unity by respecting diversity and those who want to impose artificial uniformity," Ramesh said.

The Lok Sabha elections will be fought on economic issues, focusing on what the prime minister has done regarding price rise, income disparities, livelihood issues and protecting local culture, and not on what the BJP is creating hype about, he said.

"BJP leaders are masters of creating hype and playing psychological games to put pressure on the Congress. They have frozen our accounts and taken away Rs 300 crore donated by our supporters, not through electoral bonds," he claimed.

"The BJP got Rs 8,200 crore from electoral bonds, which is legalised corruption. It is an uneven playing field, no doubt, but we will be successful on the strength of our guarantee card and our commitments which people know we are going to fulfill," Ramesh asserted.

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