GUWAHATI, May 24 � The alarm bells for the Congress in Assam started ringing more than a couple of years back when the popularity of the party started dwindling, but the senior leaders of the party did not pay heed to the warnings, claimed Health and Education Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Sarma told The Assam Tribune today that now only all-round development and good governance can prevent polarization of voters of Assam on religious lines.
The Minister said that he had warned the senior leaders, including the Chief Minister, about the dwindling of the popularity of the Congress more than a couple of years back. But they did not pay heed to the warnings and today the party faced the consequences as it managed to win only three seats in the Lok Sabha polls, he said.
Sarma admitted that winning 78 seats in the last Assembly polls made the Congress arrogant and the party is now paying the price. He said that immediately after the last Assembly polls, the vote share of the Congress in the polls to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council came down but the senior leaders of the party did not pay heed to the warnings. He said that though the Congress won the last Panchayat polls, it lost six districts and the vote share in the Assembly segments of all the Congress legislators came down. The Congress came to power in Guwahati Municipal Corporation but the growth of the BJP should have been a warning signal for the party, he added.
The tall promises made by the government also raised the expectations of the people. Before the last Assembly polls, the Congress promised to grant refugee status to the Hindus who had to escape from Bangladesh following attacks on them, but after coming to power, nothing was done in this regard. The government promised to update the National Register of Citizens but the process started gaining momentum only after the intervention of the Supreme Court, he said.
Sarma further pointed out that the promises of metro rail service in Guwahati, bridges over the river Brahmaputra, etc., could not be fulfilled. �I requested the Chief Minister on several occasions not to make promises which cannot be fulfilled. I also raised these issues in the State Cabinet. But unfortunately, my requests were not heard,� Sarma said.
He also said that during the first visit of CP Joshi as the Congress incharge of Assam, a meeting of the party workers was held in Guwahati and in that meeting also, he had raised these issues, but the Chief Minister did not bother to listen to the warnings.
The process of development also slowed down because of the fact that a large number of senior bureaucrats started staying in Delhi most of the time and no step was taken to control this menace.