Virtually bringing the campaign for the upcoming Assam assembly elections to the heart of the national capital, state Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday lashed out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for criticising his predecessor Manmohan Singh.
“I have never seen any prime minister criticising his predecessors,” Gogoi said while addressing the media here.
“Manmohan Singh did not and not even (Atal Bihari) Vajpayee,” he said.
Launching the Bharatiya Janata Party’s election campaign at Kokrajhar in Assam on Tuesday, Modi said that Assam sent Manmohan Singh as prime minister for 10 years and the state has been having a Congress government for 15 years but still there were a number of problems.
If a state has sent a prime minister for 10 years, then it should have been free of all problems, he said.
Elections for the 126-member Assam assembly are expected to be held in April-May.
On Friday, Gogoi said that Modi has become “shaky” ahead of the elections and that was why he was blaming Manmohan Singh.
“You have also been chief minister of Gujarat for 15 years. Are all problems (in Gujarat) solved?” the Assam chief minister posed.
He said that small and medium enterprises (SMEs) in Gujarat were sick, farmers were unhappy and the BJP lost the local government polls there.
Gogoi said that before becoming the prime minister, Modi raised high hopes and people too had high expectations from him.
“But instead of concentrating on internal problems, he started concentrating on foreign affairs,” Gogoi said.
“Modi enjoys the company of NRIs and CEOs more than his own people.”
Referring to Modi’s charge that Manmohan Singh did nothing for Assam, Gogoi said the foundation of the Indian Institute of Information Techonlogy (IIIT) that the prime minister laid in Guwahati earlier this week was actually a gift of Manmohan Singh.
“Now he is going to the gas cracker project. It’s the biggest PSU in the northeast and is a gift from Manmohan Singh. And he (Modi) is asking what has Manmohan Singh done,” the chief minister said.
He said that the central government has been asking from the state government a white paper on its work in the last 15 years but all major indicators showed the state was developing on all fronts.
“Modi himself gave an award to my agriculture ministry,” he said.
Gogoi said that during Manmohan Singh’s tenure as prime minister, bridges were built across the Brahmaputra river, new roads constructed and electricity supply increased.
“Even Rajiv Gandhi gave Assam the Numaligarh (oil refinery) and central universities,” he said.
“They have asked for white paper, we will give them. But they can see the figures for themselves as these are all government figures.”
According to Gogoi, Modi should be accountable for the people of Assam as the people of the state voted for the BJP in the last general elections.
“He should be accountable for the people of Assam as he is the PM of India,” the chief minister said.
Stating that while Modi wanted the northeast and Assam to be at par with Gujarat, Gogoi said that, instead, the Centre has taken away whatever little was available within the region.
“They suspended the special category status of the northeastern states and the NEIIPP (Northeast Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy),” he said.
Gogoi said that the Congress would go it alone in the upcoming assembly elections in Assam.
Asked if the Congress was planning a grand alliance of parties as was in the case of Bihar, he said he wanted a “grand understanding” of parties so that the vote went against the BJP.
After being in power for three consecutive terms, is not the Congress facing the anti-incumbency factor?
“Anti-incumbency arises only when you fail to deliver on your promises,” Gogoi said.