GUWAHATI, March 12 � Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today asserted that the Congress would be able to improve upon its tally in the State in the ensuing Lok Sabha polls. He also demanded that the BJP�s prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi apologise to the people of Assam for his comment on the killing of Hindi-speaking people in the State.
Addressing a press conference at the Rajiv Bhawan here, Gogoi said the main fight of the Congress would be with the BJP. However, he alleged that the BJP is an undemocratic party, which announced the name of its prime ministerial candidate before the polls, while, in a democratic set-up, it is the duty of the elected Parliamentarians to elect the Prime Minister.
Gogoi said that the Congress would be able to increase its tally of seats in Assam. Giving reasons for his confidence, he said that the party managed to improve its tally in the 2011 Assembly seats, while, in every subsequent polls including the elections to the Guwahati Municipal Corporation (GMC) elections, the party managed to show a much better performance. He pointed out that despite having so many ticket seekers, the Congress was the first party to announce its list of candidates, while the other major parties have not yet been able to announce their full lists of candidates. He also revealed that the candidate for the Mangaldai seat would be announced by the party high command.
Commenting on the reports of resentment among a large section of Congressmen on the selection of candidates, Gogoi said that such resentment was nothing new. But finally, all Congressmen would work together to ensure victory of the candidates of the party. On the reports that Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had a meeting with some legislators yesterday, Gogoi said that there was nothing wrong in such meetings. �Himanta informed me that he was meeting some legislators to formulate strategies for election campaign. There is nothing wrong in that,� he added.
Hitting out at the BJP and Narendra Modi, Gogoi said that the BJP is now talking about empowerment of women and youths, but the Congress has been working on these issues for years. The Congress government gave 33 per cent reservation for women, while, for empowerment of youths, the minimum age for voting rights was reduced to 18 years. He said that a number of new educational institutions came up in the State in last 13 years, which would help in empowering youths.
The Chief Minister said that in a recent meeting in Bihar, Modi blamed the people of Assam for the attacks on Bihari labourers. Gogoi pointed out that a section of insurgents, who had also attacked Assamese people, was responsible for such attacks and all the people of Assam should not be blamed for such incidents. In fact, Modi should apologise to the people of Assam for his comment, he demanded. He also said that the BJP demeaned the world famous Assam tea by launching its Modi tea.
Gogoi also said that the BJP is now in such a position that it is ready to welcome anyone who wants to join the party. He also said that the Congress would soon publish a white paper on what the BJP-led NDA Government did for Assam during its tenure in power.