Assam 2021

Assam elections| Congress had a disciplined and unified campaign: Gaurav Gogoi

Senior Congress chief and Kaliabor MP Gaurav Gogoi speaks to The Hindu at his Guwahati residence on the final day of marketing campaign in Assam in regards to the occasion’s ballot prospects, the angst inside ranks in regards to the alliance with Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Congress’ stand in opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA).

The marketing campaign has come to a detailed, in your evaluation how far has the Congress come from the time the marketing campaign initially began?

I’m fairly happy with the marketing campaign for a lot of causes. One, we’ve had a unified marketing campaign, there was coordinated messaging, and we’ve been supportive of one another. We didn’t get distracted with the BJP’s marketing campaign focusing solely on points related to us and other people of Assam like worth rise, corruption, unemployment. We have come a good distance when it comes to our social media. And total, it was a really disciplined marketing campaign. And sure, we’ve come a good distance. This is the primary election that we’re combating with out the knowledge and management of my father (Tarun Gogoi). In reality, he’s the one who considered the grand alliance in early final 12 months, particularly in the course of the Rajya Sabha elections the place the Congress and the AIUDF got here collectively to ship a distinguished anti-CAA journalist Ajit Bhuyan to the Upper House. It gave us a number of confidence that there was a pre-CAA Assam the place the events stored distance with one another, my father was on the forefront of sustaining distance from events just like the AIUDF. And there’s a post-CAA Assam, the place the persons are insecure and anxious and subsequently they’re completely happy to see political various events come collectively on an anti-CAA platform.

But there’s a number of angst throughout the occasion about this alliance with the AIUDF with many leaders feeling that in the long term this may hurt the Congress. And your father too as soon as had famously mentioned, “Who is Ajmal” (Badruddin, AIUDF president)?

I wish to appropriate the misunderstanding that my father was in opposition to the alliance, that isn’t true. Secondly, final 12 months in September, we had a core committee assembly during which we handed a decision that we are going to go for an alliance with like-minded events, that would come with the AIUDF and different events. Of course, whether or not we should always have an alliance or not could be debated and which is suitable in Congress occasion. But let’s simply say we’ve gone by an intensive interval of debate earlier than reaching a conclusion in January of this 12 months the place we introduced the grand alliance agreeing on the frequent agenda. Cracking the seat-sharing was the straightforward half. Just retaining it collectively, guaranteeing some primary dos and don’ts, understanding the frequent ideas and so forth is extra essential.

Why didn’t you contest out of your father’s constituency of Titabor?

My father was not planning to contest the 2021 elections due to his well being. He had talked about to me that the following election from Titabor must be fought by somebody from Titabor, he insisted on having his successor from Titabor. I believe as a son I fulfilled my late father’s needs. Even although the Congress occasion requested me repeatedly to contest, I felt I owed it to my father to respect his needs. And we’ve picked an excellent candidate in Bhaskarjyoti Barua, he’s not a proxy candidate or the Gogoi household’s nominee. And I labored within the constituency, retaining the troops collectively.

Would it have been higher if the occasion went into polls with a Chief Ministerial face?

After the demise of my father, it was just about inconceivable for anybody to fill his footwear because the one chief who can take everybody alongside. The duty of retaining the occasion united and targeted on placing a robust election marketing campaign rests equally on all our shoulders whether or not it’s the Congress Legislative Party chief Debabrata Saikia or State president Riipun Bora, MPs, ex-MPs. No single particular person can fill late Tarun Gogoi’s footwear, the vacuum is just too massive. And all of us have shouldered the duty collectively.

Why did the Congress take so lengthy to personal up the anti-CAA narrative?

I believe it was a daring step for Rahul Gandhi and the Congress occasion to make the CAA as a part of our ballot plank proper at the start and to place it in the correct within the centre of our marketing campaign. This step despatched out a message that Assam voters needn’t really feel disheartened and to grudgingly settle for the CAA due to the Centre’s whim. Seeing the Congress take up the problem, they know that if we’re elected to energy, we are going to constitutionally problem the CAA. And so far as delay is worried, many of the final 12 months was misplaced within the pandemic, the political exercise had declined as a result of we have been extra targeted on COVID-19 aid. And instantly after the lockdown, the pinch of inflation coupled with unemployment was so acute, particularly right here in Assam, that it remained our focus. We are the one nationwide occasion which talked about opposing the CAA within the 2019 manifesto and Rahul Gandhi is the one nationwide chief who took a stand on it.

But it was the Congress that was main the cost of the anti-CAA agitation. Today we see two political events — Asom Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal — born out of the agitation, who are usually not even a part of the grand alliance. Wasn’t {that a} mis-step?

During the anti-CAA agitation of September-November 2019, the Congress was the one political occasion that was in opposition to the CAA. These two events that you simply speak of got here into being only a few months in the past. One of them is but to get its image. I’m not certain if they’ve their act collectively. But on the similar time within the idea of getting a grand alliance, we welcomed these two events, they select to remain outdoors of it, we nonetheless really feel that we will kind the federal government with or with out these events. We stay the principle bulwark in opposition to the CAA which the Centre is making an attempt to impose on Assam.

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