Door open for ‘like-minded’ parties to join Grand Alliance, says Cong

GUWAHATI: Opposition Congress in Assam on Friday said the doors of the Mahajoot (Grand Alliance) was open for “like-minded” parties to join the alliance and “topple” the incumbent BJP in the ensuing Assembly elections.

Speaking to reporters here on Friday, the party’s campaign committee chairman Pradyut Bordoloi hinted that the Grand Alliance was “open ended” in terms of welcoming “like-minded” parties that aligned with its common minimum programme.

“We are also open to welcoming the Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) to our alliance, provided the party aligned with its common minimum programme,” Bordoloi replied when asked whether the alliance was ready to partner with BPF, which is still an ally of the ruling party in the state government.

“We are six parties in the Grand Alliance now and the alliance is ready to welcome a few more like-minded parties, including the two newly-formed regional parties (Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal), to join the alliance to defeat the BJP in the coming Assembly elections,” he added.

Asked about the Congress’ Assembly poll prospects, Bordoloi, a Lok Sabha MP from Nagaon, asserted that the “Congress has a strong DNA….it has strong roots that go deep. We are fully ready for the polls, having already met people in their homes and being with the people (during the ongoing Save Assam campaign).”

“We want to save Assam from the incumbent government which has failed to come out with people-friendly policies,” he said.

‘BJP misleading people’

The Opposition leader further accused the incumbent BJP government of “misleading the people of Assam before an election” by promising to solve the flood problem in Assam in the next five years, if they remain in power.

Union home minister Amit Shah had during his visit to the state on Thursday pledged to make the state flood free in the next five years.

“But how will people believe BJP again. The BJP leaders have promised much on mitigating floods in Assam but delivered nothing. All of them have been deceiving the people,” Bordoloi  alleged.

Pointing out that the Prime Minister had in the year 2017 announced an assistance of Rs 2,650 crore for the Northeast, the Congress leader said, “The funds announced have not been released in the subsequent years,” adding that an amount Rs 400crore was to be utilised for preventive measures against river erosion in Assam while Rs 250 crore was to be released immediately to Assam to help the state start relief and rehabilitation work.

“Besides, another Rs 100crore was allocated to form a high-powered committee to conduct a study on the Brahmaputra river…But the promises have not been delivered…So if the Prime Minister does not live up to his commitments, how can you believe the Union home minister,” Bordoloi asked.

The Congress leader further took on the ruling party for “taking away the special status to Assam in regard to the central government funding pattern that existed during the Congress tenure.”

“But this government only believes in beneficiary-centric politics,” he alleged.

Bordoloi also slammed the BJP stalwart for the saffron party taking the “credit for making Assam peaceful and militancy-free”, when, in reality, the conflict resolution process and dialogue had started during the tenure of former chief minister Tarun Gogoi.

“Why is the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act still in effect and why has the state government recently announced Assam a ‘disturbed area’ for another six months under the Act,” he further questioned.

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