As Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra enters Meghalaya, opposition parties demand Assam CM resignation
The UOF demanded the resignation of CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, citing his "failure" to maintain law and order as the reason behind attacks on Congress leaders
The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra led by Congress MP Rahul Gandhi commenced its Meghalaya leg on Monday with a padyatra (foot march), entering Meghalaya from Assam's Morigaon district late in the afternoon.
Gandhi and his entourage participated in a padyatra near Nongpoh, the headquarters of Ri Bhoi district, soon after entering the state's borders. The Congress leader also attended a public meeting organised by the state Congress committee at Nongpoh before spending the night at Byrnihat in the same district.
Gandhi is scheduled to attend an interaction with youth at the Assam-Meghalaya border on Tuesday morning before the yatra re-enters Assam for the final edition of its Assam leg.
Meanwhile, the United Opposition Forum (UOF) — an alliance of several parties in Assam — on Monday demanded the resignation of chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, citing his "failure" to maintain law and order in the state as the reason behind the attacks on Congress leaders during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.
Speaking to media, UOF general-secretary and Assam Jatiya Parishad leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi, along with Raijor Dal chief Akhil Gogoi, said "Sarma must resign from his post as it is indeed shameful that the attacks took place on the leader of the country's largest Opposition party, who was a guest in our state".
The opposition leaders said Gandhi's convoy was attacked by "hired goons" of the BJP" who also "pelted stones" at the car of Congress general-secretary and MP Jairam Ramesh, and "injured" Assam unit Congress chief Bhupen Borah on Sunday in Sonitpur district.
Earlier on Monday, Gandhi was not allowed by authorities to visit the Sankardeva temple in Assam's Bordua. Gandhi, along with other Congress leaders, was stopped at Haiborgaon and not allowed to proceed further, with the CM citing law and order concerns. Mahila Congress leaders subsequently sat on a dharna to protest the denial of permission to Gandhi, who also joined the dharna.
"Even if we assume that the chief minister did not incite these attacks, it clearly reflects his failure to maintain the law and order situation," they said, adding that the attacks on the yatra "brought disgrace to a state known for its hospitality", and demonstrated Sarma's inability to protect opposition leaders and citizens.
On Sunday, Rajasthan Congress leader Sachin Pilot condemned the "lawlessness and hooliganism" during the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra in Assam and said such incidents "undermine the democratic process".
In an X post, Pilot, also a Congress general-secretary, said, "The people of Assam are witnessing lawlessness and hooliganism on display along the route of the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. While there may be differences in political ideologies, such incidents undermine the democratic process and should be condemned unequivocally."
In Assam's Nagaon, as a group of BJP workers chanted "jai Shri Ram" and "Modi, Modi" in front of Gandhi's tour bus, the Congress leader waved, blew flying kisses, and stepped off the bus to meet them.
"Our 'mohabbat ki dukaan (shop of love)' is open for everyone. 'Judega Bharat, Jeetega Hindustan'," Gandhi said in a post on X while sharing a video of the incident.