GUWAHATI, May 23 - With the �Modi undercurrent� turning into a massive tsunami which swept aside the opposition in the Lok Sabha polls, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi admitted that the principal opposition Congress party failed to capitalise on various �shortcomings� of the NDA regime and alleged that the BJP�s victory is mainly on account of the saffron outfit�s success in implementing its �divisive politics�.
Speaking exclusively to The Assam Tribune, the senior Congress leader also added that he personally believes that all the �anti-BJP� forces, including the AIUDF, should now join hands to keep the ruling party in check.
�I admit we had our shortcomings. Despite the BJP�s attempts to force the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill (CAB) on Assam in the face of strong opposition from the masses, the ruling party has now managed to get so many votes here. I do not think that what has happened is a good thing. It is our failure that we could not capitalise on the anti-CAB sentiment. It is also the failure of AASU, KMSS and other anti-CAB outfits. We failed to take the anti-CAB message to the grassroots level,� said the three-time Chief Minister.
He added that the Congress also failed to benefit from what he termed the Modi government�s failure on various fronts, including high unemployment, price rise and economic slowdown.
�We cannot match Modi�s money power or his propensity to indulge in false propaganda or his politics of divisiveness,� said Gogoi.
He added, �Prime Minister Modi was successful in diverting the attention of the electorate from problems like unemployment, agrarian distress, price rise and economic slowdown. He played politics over the armed forces and played with the people�s sense of insecurity by saying that the country is in danger by highlighting the alleged threat from Pakistan.�
Terming the �divisive politics� allegedly adopted by the BJP �dangerous� for the country, Gogoi said, �Unfortunately, Modi has been successful in that kind of politics. He did what the leaders of the Jana Sangh and the earlier leaders of the BJP could not do. He openly violated the Model Code of Conduct. He misused the government machinery and rode roughshod over constitutional bodies like the Election Commission. These are not good signs for a democracy.�
Asked if he also subscribes to the EVM manipulation theory, Gogoi said, �I cannot rule that out completely. Maybe it has happened to some extent. But I believe that BJP�s win is mainly on account of its success in playing divisive politics.�
He added that the Congress would continue to play the role of a constructive and strong opposition. �After all, we are the only party which is fighting the communal forces at the national level. And we have been doing that since the days of Jawaharlal Nehru. Chandrababu Naidu can fight only in Andhra Pradesh, Mamata Banerjee can fight only in West Bengal and Akhilesh Yadav can only fight in Uttar Pradesh. But Congress is the biggest bulwark against the right-wing forces,� Gogoi said.
He said the fight against the CAB would continue. �In fact, the fight against the Bill will only intensify because now the BJP will claim that it has the mandate to bring back the CAB.�
Gogoi said that in his personal opinion the time has now come for all the opposition forces to join hands. �I think we must join hands with those who believe in secularism and social harmony and in preserving the language, culture, heritage and identity of the people of Assam,� he said.
Asked if he also means the AIUDF, Gogoi said, �If necessary, join hands with anybody to defeat communal and divisive forces. But that is my personal opinion.�
He added that the Congress would now get ready to face the 2021 Assembly polls in Assam by highlighting the government�s neglect of issues like poor roads, lack of good healthcare facilities, educational infrastructure, drinking water, high unemployment, ST status to six communities, and flood and erosion.
Asked what his message to Modi would be, Gogoi said, �We congratulate him. People have given the verdict. Voters of India were so graceful that they have given you a second chance despite all your failures. Now it is time for you to deliver. Please deliver what you promised. Please give up divisive politics. And please withdraw the CAB.�