BJP, Congress battle over 14th-century Assam saint

 In the ensuing Assam polls, the Congress and the BJP are not leaving anything out of their political duel, not even Assam Vaishnavite saint Srimanta Shankardeva.

After Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed a conclave of the saint’s followers in Sivasagar on February 5, a fresh controversy has erupted with the Congress accusing the BJP of playing politics in the name of the saint.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Monday dared state BJP president and BJP’s chief ministerial candidate for Assam Sarbananda Sonowal to come out with fact sheet as to what the previous and the present BJP-led NDA governments had done for perpetuating the memory of saint-social reformer Srimanta Sankaradeva.

In a statement here, Chief Minister Gogoi said that state BJP president Sonowal has been spreading canards against the state government for showing “disrespect” to Srimanta Sankaradeva which is false, absurd and ridiculous.

“Our government has been doing everything possible to perpetuate the memory of the great saint-social reformer. Grants have been given to the satras, bhaona has been promoted, and recently we decided to name the Assam Houses and Bhawans after the Mahapurusha. By doing all this, are we showing any kind of disrespect to the Mahapurusha? What did the previous and present BJP-led NDA governments do in this regard. Will Sonowal spell it out,” he said in the statement.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on February 5 became the first prime minister to have attended the annual convention of the Srimanta Sankardev Sangha, the apex body of follower of the 15th century saint who has great following in Assam.

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