Lambasting the BJP, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday, said that the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) was an attack on the language, history and culture of Assam. Issuing an assurance to the people of the state, Gandhi also said that if the congress is voted to power in Assam, it will not implement the CAA.
The Congress leader’s comments comes just days after Union home minister Amit Shah promised to implement the CAA.
Gandhi made the comments through a video message. In an attempt to woo the tribal community in Assam, the Congress leader also claimed that the BJP was trying to do away with Article 244A of the Constitution which deals with formation of an autonomous state comprising certain tribal areas in the state. He said that the Congress will not let the BJP succeed and promised that his party will implement every clause of the Article.
Gandhi posted the video message for the people of the Northeastern state as his scheduled election-related programmes at Silchar and in two hill districts of Dima Hasao and Karbi Anglong were cancelled due to heavy rains.
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The Congress-led Grand Alliance, if voted to power, will fulfil the five guarantees it has given to the people of the state within hours of forming the government, he said.
"The first guarantee is we will not allow CAA to be implemented. It is an attack on Assam, your language, history, your tradition and culture," Gandhi said in his video message.
The objective of the CAA is to grant Indian citizenship to people of minority communities Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who had come to India till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution in these countries.
The state witnessed violent protests against the CAA in 2019 and five persons lost their lives. The protestors saw the law as a threat to their cultural identity and livelihood.
The other four guarantees are five lakh government jobs in five years, increasing the daily minimum wage of tea garden workers to Rs 365, 200 units of free electricity per month for all, and Rs 2,000 per month for every homemaker, Gandhi said.
The former Congress president alleged that the hill tribes people are under attack from the BJP as the saffron party seeks to scrap Article 244A of the Constitution.
The Congress government in 1969 had inserted Article 244A into the Constitution to enact a law for constituting an autonomous state within Assam and also to provide the autonomous state with a legislature, council of ministers or both with such powers and functions as may be defined by that law.
The 22nd Amendment of the Constitution amended Article 275 in regard to sums and grants payable to the autonomous state on and from its formation under Article 244A. However, the autonomous state within Assam has not been constituted as yet.
"The Congress government will ensure that Article 244A is not diluted and all its clauses are implemented to protect the interests of the indigenous people of the state," Gandhi said.
The Congress leader was scheduled to address a poll rally each at Haflong in Dima Hasao hill district and Bokajan in Karbi Anglong hill district, besides holding an interactive session with women at Silchar.
"Due to bad weather, I was unable to reach you today. But my and the Grand Alliances message is clear - we will take Assam to the path of progress and prosperity with the five guarantees," he said in the video message posted on his official Twitter handle.
Earlier in the day, Gandhi tweeted that the people of Assam have understood that there is no relation between 'jumlas' (rhetoric) and development, and asked the Centre to explain what it had done for the upliftment of labourers, including tea garden workers, in the state.
His remarks come two days before the second phase of the assembly elections in the state on April 1. The third and final phase of polling will be held on April six.
(With PTI Inputs)