Former Chief Minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi on Tuesday came down heavily on Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal for his Vietnam tour at a time when the people across the State have continued protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
“Sarbananda Sonowal’s Vietnam tour is nothing but wastage of money. This government already wasted crores of money by organising Namami Brahmaputra and Namami Barak festival,” former CM Gogoi said during a press conference held at his Koinadhara residence in Guwahati.
Reacting to the Baratiya Janta Party’s performance in Karnataka Assembly election where the BJP has emerged as single largest party, Gogoi said the saffron party performed well in Karnataka on the basis of their Hindutva ideology.
Gogoi said, “Many voters in minority regions in Karnataka had cast their votes in favour of the BJP due to fear.” He also alleged that the BJP had spent crores of money in Karnataka Assembly elections.
On Sonowal’s Vietnam tour, Gogoi said, “At a time when the State is facing existence crisis, his (Sarbananda Sonowal) tour to Vietnam has exposed his irresponsibility towards the State.”
Condemning the present Assam government for not being able to solve flood and erosion problem in the State even after completion of two years in power, the senior Congress leader questioned Sonowal about the need for Vietnam tour to acquire knowledge for growth and development of agriculture in the State.
“Instead of going to Vietnam, the CM should have gone to Punjab or Haryana to acquire knowledge on agriculture,” Gogoi said during the press conference.
Talking about the use of costly charter plane, Gogoi said, “The BJP criticised me for using helicopter when the Congress was in power in Assam. Sonowal is perhaps the first leader in Assam’s history to use charter plane in foreign tour.”
Criticising Sarbananda Sonowal for deploying a huge team of security personnel for his protection, Gogoi said, “He is doing opposite whatever he said after coming to power.”
Gogoi also alleged that Sarbananda Sonowal has shed crocodile tears on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill issue before leaving for Vietnam in a meeting with the editors of different print and electronic media houses.
“Why didn’t the Sonowal-led government opposed the Bill while the BJP-led Central government proposed it? The BJP ruined the State,” Gogoi said.
Significantly, Gogoi also asserted the Congress in the Brahmaputra Valley favoured Assamese as language of the State during the Assam Movement while the Congress in Barak Valley favoured Bengali as language of the State.
Reacting to State BJP President Ranjeet Kumar Dass’ comment, who said that the BJP would clear its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 after completion of the NRC update process, Gogoi said, “It will be meaningless.”
Moreover, on Centre’s move to approve a fund of Rs 480.87 crore as flood relief to Assam, Gogoi said, “The Central government just approved the fund, they have not released yet.”