Joined: 27 September 2005
PM to hit Assam campaign trail
After Congres party president Sonia Gandhi's whirlwind day-long electioneering in Assam Thursday, it is the turn of the Prime Minister Manmohan Singh to try boost Congress' fortunes in Assam.
Dr Singh who is an Rajya Sabha member of Parliament from the state, is arriving in Assam Saturday for a two-day election tour. He will cover as many as four election meetings during Saturday and Sunday.
On his arrival on Saturday he will campaign for the party in the silktown of Sualkuchi near Guwahati, at Mukalmua in Nalbari district. On Sunday he will address election ralies at Tezpur in northern Assam and at Donkamokam in Karbi Anglong. This was mentioned by Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi in Guwahati Friday.
The Congress ridiculed the rival Asom Gana Parishad and Bharatiya Janata Party for banking on Bollywood filmstars for electioneering in the state.
The AGP has roped in Jaya Prada and filmstar-turned-politician Jaya Bachchan while glamourous Hema Malini and TV star Smriti Irani have hit the campaign trail on behalf of the BJP in the state.
"Bringing filmstars for electioneering in Assam is not the political culture of the state. The AGP and BJP are so frustrated and confused about how to stop the Congress from coming to power that they are roping in filmstars from Bollywood to woo voters on their behalf," Gogoi said.
He said people of Assam were politically too mature to be swayed by the sights of glamourous filmstars who presence in electioneering would hardly be translated into votes in Assam.
"Even colossal artiste like Dr Bhupen Hazarika couldn't win in the last parliamentary election in the state. The filmstars are like life saving drugs for the both AGP and the BJP," Gogoi said.
The chief minister criticised the BJP and Asom United Democratic Front president Badaruddin Ajmal for communalising the atmosphere in the state in the name of electioneering.
"Ajmal is another Togadia, the Vishwa Hindu Parishad leader. Ajmal had brought Syed Ahmed Bukhari, the Shahi Imam of Jama Masjid to campaign for his party. The Imam was used by BJP in New Delhi during last parliamentary polls, but Congress candidate Kapil Sibal emerged the winner there. The Imam's fatwa will not work in Assam," Gogoi said.
- Gogoi sneers at Opposition for roping in actors for rallies
Guwahati, March 31: An overly upbeat Tarun Gogoi today couldn't resist taking a dig at the Opposition for roping in Bollywood personalities to halt the "Congress juggernaut" in Elections 2006.
"I have never seen the Opposition so nervous in my political life. Staring at imminent defeat at the hands of the Congress, both the AGP and the BJP have sent an SOS to Bollywood for help," a beaming Gogoi said.
He described the Bollywood stars campaigning in the state as "lifesaving drugs" for the AGP and the BJP.
The chief minister said even star power would not be able to revive the flagging political fortunes of the Opposition parties.
He claimed that the Congress would get an absolute majority in the polls.
Yesteryears "dream girl" Hema Malini and small screen bahu Smriti Irani are campaigning for the BJP, while Jaya Bachchan and Jayaprada have been roped in by the AGP to seek votes for its candidates.
What must have riled the ruling Congress more is that Jaya Bachchan even read out a message from husband Amit-abh for the people of Assam at an election rally at Tinsukia yesterday to thunderous applause from the audience.
"With due regards to Bhupen Hazarika, I would like to mention that when the music maestro contested the Lok Sabha election on a BJP ticket from Guwahati, he had to taste defeat at the hands of Congress candidate Kirip Chaliha. So one can well imagine what impact these Bollywood stars will have on the voters of Assam," Gogoi said.
"I am confident that the star power will neither work for the BJP nor the AGP in Assam as voters here are very conscious."
Gogoi minced no words while criticising former Andhra Pradesh chief minister Chandrababu Naidu and Samajwadi Party leader Amar Singh for campaigning for the AGP.
"After not being able to save his own party in Andhra Pradesh, Naidu has now come to Assam to rescue the AGP. Once a hero, Naidu is now a big zero in his home state," he said.
An eloquent Gogoi did not spare the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) either, saying the BJP and the new party were two sides of the same coin.
"The AUDF is the dividing factor, while the Congress is the unifying factor. The minorities will commit a big mistake if they vote for any party other than the Congress, which is the only secular par-ty," said Union water resource minister Saifuddin Soz.
In a veiled attack on the Shahi Imam of the Jama Masjid, Maulana Syed Ahmed Bukhari, for supporting the AUDF, Soz said "discredited people who cannot even manage Wakf properties have no right to offer advice to minorities in Assam".
Joined: 28 December 2005
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