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Assam Can’t Survive Without Secularism: Bhupen Borah

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, April 3:  Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah has claimed that the people will choose his party this time as Assam “cannot survive” without secularism.

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Borah claimed that people of the state were “very angry” with the BJP for not fulfilling the promises it made.

“India is a secular country and Assam cannot survive without secularism and socialism. The only way Assam can work for progress is by being united. The CM is planning to polarise the state,” he said in an interview with PTI.

“If Assam wants peace and progress, it has to take the path of Congress and Gandhian philosophy,” he added.

Borah alleged that the BJP was fighting the Lok Sabha elections “on four wheels” — “money power, individual beneficiary scheme, communalism or polarisation, and by trying to control a section of the press”.

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He claimed that despite this, people are supporting the Congress, which is getting a good response on the ground.

“They made a lot of promises to the people of Assam, like ‘BJP ayega, videshi jayega’ (BJP will come, foreigners will go), price rise will be controlled, employment opportunities will be created, ST status will be given to six communities and wage of tea garden workers will be increased. But not a single promise has been fulfilled,” Borah alleged.

On Congress leaders quitting the party, he said there was a “little bit of resentment” due to ticket distribution.

“It is happening in the BJP as well. In the BJP, one Union minister has been denied a ticket and he has now gone silent. Sitting MPs of Sonitpur and Guwahati were denied tickets, and they are now silent,” he said.

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Giving an instance, Borah said there were three aspirants for Congress nomination from the Guwahati seat, and the party nominated the best person among them, and “even people of the city will testify to it”.

“In other constituencies also, if you ask the people they will say that Congress list is the best list,” he claimed.

The Congress is contesting 13 seats in the state, leaving the Dibrugarh constituency for the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP).

Borah alleged that the delimitation exercise was done according to the “wish of the RSS and BJP”.

“It is a double-edged sword, it is the same for the BJP as well. It is not a very big factor in this election. The factors are price rise, jobs, flood and erosion, and implementing the Assam Accord,” he asserted.

Claiming that the Congress is in a good position in all the seats, Borah said there is a “little bit of trust deficit” among the people, which has to be bridged.

“Some senior leaders are dancing to the tune of the CM. They are joining the BJP without thinking about the state or what the people are thinking. I am hopeful that under my leadership, we will be able to convince the people that few may join the BJP but there are leaders who will not leave the Congress,” he said. (With inputs from PTI)

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