BJP functioning like mafia in Assam: Priyanka

Priyanka ridicules Asom Gana Parishad for being ‘diminished’ by cosying up to BJP

Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday said the BJP-led government in Assam has been functioning like the mafia to run various syndicates.

She also took a swipe at the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the BJP’s main regional ally, for being reduced to a bheegi billi (wet, frightened cat) in the process of cosying up to the saffron party.

Epic analogy

Addressing Congress rallies at Sarupathar, Kaliabor and Batadroba on the second day of her campaign in the State, Ms. Vadra said the BJP’s much-vaunted “double engine” was actually two factions — one led by ‘Dhritarashtra’ and the other by ‘Shakuni Mama’.

She did not take names but made it apparent that she meant Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma respectively.

Characters from the epic Mahabharata, Dhritarashtra was the visually impaired king of Hastinapur and Shakuni his scheming brother-in-law.

“The Assam government has a Dhritarashtra and a Shakuni Mama. The duo and the BJP have betrayed the people of Assam by letting syndicates reign,” Ms. Vadra said.

She also reminded the people that “this Dhritarashtra was once called Jatiya Nayak (people’s leader) who betrayed the six ethnic communities in Assam whom he had promised to grant Scheduled Tribe status.”

Mr. Sonowal had earned the moniker after challenging the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act in the Supreme Court and having it quashed. The six communities demanding ST status are Adivasi or “tea tribes”— Chutiya, Koch-Rajbongshi, Matak, Moran and Tai-Ahom.

“Shakuni Mama runs a corrupt government that only cheats people,” Ms. Vadra said.

Barb at AGP

The Congress leader visited Batadroba Satra, a Vaishnavite monastery and the birthplace of 15th-16th century saint-reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva. The satras are central to the BJP’s campaign against alleged Bangladeshi encroachers of Assam’s land.

At a rally later, Ms. Vadra chose to attack the AGP more than the BJP.

“The BJP always weakens its allies. The elephant (AGP’s symbol) of Assam has been reduced to a bheegi billi. Tying up with these people (BJP) comes at a cost. They weaken every supporter because their only ideology is to stick to power,” Ms Vadra said.

“The AGP cannot even take any internal party decision in Assam today. They need the approval of Delhi for their internal party matters as well,” she said.

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