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Cong ready to embrace deserters: Rawat


GUWAHATI, July 28 - Opposition Congress today sent out a clear signal that it is open to the idea of welcoming back to its fold those people who have left the party earlier, but added that any decision regarding alliance or understanding with other parties in Assam for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls would be taken only at a later date.

Addressing the media here today, All India Congress Committee general secretary and the party�s in-charge for Assam Harish Rawat said the coming elections will be a fight to save �constitutional democracy� and the �essence of the freedom movement� and �as such there is a need for all like-minded forces to come together to defeat the BJP.�

He said that if somebody, including people who had left the Congress party earlier, wants to rejoin it, the party is ready to consider such request on a �case-by-case� basis.

He claimed that there is no factionalism within the Congress party in Assam and added that in a democratic organization, there is bound to be some divergence of opinions on certain matters. However, once any decision is taken officially then all party workers are bound to adhere to it, Rawat added.

Asked if the Congress is willing to explore the idea of alliance or understanding with the Left parties or the AIUDF in Assam for the 2019 general elections, Rawat said, �Let the time come. Then we will think about it.�

He said the priority now is to �augment� the Congress party�s own strength in Assam and to formulate a proper socio-political and economic strategy for the State.

Rawat said that under the NDA dispensation, the growth rate in the Northeast has come down significantly. �So we want to create an alternative in 2019 in which we can tell the people of Assam that only we are thinking for the State,� Rawat said.

He accused the BJP of taking up issues like cow slaughter and granting of ST status to six communities only for the sake of electoral returns.

The former Uttarakhand Chief Minister said that controversies regarding the NRC arose only after the BJP came to power in New Delhi and Dispur, and added that the saffron party has tried to influence the update process of the document.

He said the Congress has decided to establish help-lines at district and block levels to help people whose names may be left out of the final draft and the party will also prepare a list of eminent lawyers to provide legal assistance to ensure that no genuine Indian citizen is deprived of having his or her name included in the NRC.

Rawat said that he has held detailed discussions with State party leaders during past three days and many steps have been decided upon for strengthening the Congress� organization in Assam. The Congress will also go to the people of Assam and explain issues like the Rafale deal to �expose the lies and misdeeds of the BJP,� he added.

He said Congress president Rahul Gandhi has been successful in �exposing the lies of the Narendra Modi regime� on various issues during the recent debate on the no-confidence motion in Parliament.

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