Borguri/Majuli/Bihpuria/Bokahat (Assam): Launching a scathing attack on Assam’s ruling Congress for its “60 years of misrule”, Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday promised to stop infiltration from Bangladesh and even force those living illegally in the state for years to go back.
Addressing a series of rallies in the poll-bound northeastern state, Modi spoke on issues like development and corruption, and even accused the Congress of providing political patronage to those killing Assam’s state animal — the one-horned rhino.
The prime minister, who spoke at four largely attended rallies and a citizens’ meeting in four districts, said only a BJP government — led by its ‘young’ chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal could fulfil the dreams of the people of Assam.
Modi said if the BJP was voted to power, the central and state governments would work hand in hand to take Assam’s development to a different level, ushering in a change a change in the people’s living standards.
At Narayanpur near Bihpuria in Lakhimpur district, Modi raised the infiltration issue.
“The Assam government always wants the Bangladeshis. They offer golden plates to Bangladeshis but take away whatever the indigenous people have,” said Modi, terming it “criminal negligence”.
“We, in Delhi, are taking such steps which will not only stop fresh infiltration into Assam but will ensure that those infiltrators, who have been living in Assam, have to go back,” he said.
Earlier, Modi addressed two rallies — first at Borguri in Tinsukia district and the second at Majuli in Jorhat district.
Modi said the state registered the highest incidents of crime against women, but the Congress was “not bothered”.
“And their attitude towards these problems and issues have always remained indifferent.”
Flaying the Congress for its “60 years of misrule in the country”, Modi said over 60 percent of the Assamese still did not have access to electricity.
He said the BJP-led government at the Centre was bringing a bill in parliament on development of inland waterways, and its passage would benefit the people of Assam, particularly those living on the banks of the Brahmaputra river.
Modi, who began the day with a rally at Borguri in Tinsukia district, said his fight was not with Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi, but against poverty, corruption and the devastation of the state.
“Gogoi ji says his fight is against me. But I do not have any fight against Gogoi ji. We have a tradition here not to fight with the elders but to respect them. I have respect for Gogoi ji.”
“But I have a fight against poverty, corruption and against the destruction of Assam.”
Gogoi, earlier this month, had said that the Congress’s fight in the forthcoming polls will be against Modi for his wrong policies and injustice towards Assam and other parts of the northeastern region.
The prime minister said Assam used to be known as one of India’s richest states after independence, but has since been reduced to poverty.
Modi wrapped up his day with a public rally at Bokakhat in Golaghat district, where he took potshots at the Congress government for the unabated killing of rhinos.
“I have heard that in Assam the Congress ate up development funds. But I was not aware that even the rhinos are not safe in the hands of the Congress. Eyes were kept closed and rhinos were allowed to get killed and political patronage was given to those, who killed rhinos,” said Modi.
“Now time has come to hunt the hunters of rhinosand one does not need guns and bombs to hunt these rhino hunters. One just needs to press a button in the forthcoming assembly polls in Assam to kill the rhino hunters,” he said.
“Just vote for the BJP candidates and those put up by the partners of the BJP-led alliance and I guarantee that not a single rhino will be allowed to be killed in Assam,” Modi said.
The prime minister also addressed a citizens’ meeting in Jorhat town.
On Sunday, he would speak at two more rallies — at Rangapara in Sonitpur district and Karimganj in Barak Valley.
A total of 1.98 crore voters will elect legislators for the 126 seats in the Assam assembly. Polls will be held in two phases — April 4 and 11.