Guwahati, Feb 14 (IANS): The pitch is getting sharper and the allegations dirtier. With Assembly elections due in Assam this year, political parties are busy slinging mud at each other even as real issues affecting the common man are nowhere to be found at rallies and speeches.
"I don't know if AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta (former Chief Minister) is suffering from cataract as he fails to see any development works during our two terms and all the time pointing out failures of our government," Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told a public rally in the eastern Assam oil township of Digboi on Monday.
Elections to the 126-member State legislature are due in March-April with notifications for polls likely to be announced by the Election Commission shortly.
Already political parties have started holding rallies and street corner meetings - but the focus of both the ruling party and the opposition has been on mudslinging rather than a definite agenda or promises to work for the people.
"What has the Congress government given to the people of Assam in the past 10 years - they have given nothing but an empire of corruption, they swindled government funds and cheated the people," Mahanta told a rally in the western town of Dhubri on Sunday.
"Tarun Gogoi is the king of corruption."
The verbal duelling is also digging up a lot of dirt.
Assam Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said at a Congress party rally last week in Karbi Anglong district: "AGP says the chief minister is unable to control his ministers. Yes, the AGP is right, but our chief minister has never taught us to barge into the hotel room of a woman foreign tourist or ogle and touch an airhostess during a flight."
Sarma was referring to media reports in the past related to at least two AGP legislators. One had allegedly entered the hotel room of a foreign woman tourist during her visit to a national park, while another was accused of misbehaving with an airhostess during a flight to New Delhi from Guwahati in an inebriated state.
The fact that the parties are not taking up the real issues that affect people is lost on none.
"The political speeches are nothing but hilarious and provide instant entertainment. But the bottom line is that none of us would vote based on their antics or comic speeches," said Guneshwar Das, a college teacher.