Why did BJP not implement Assam Accord? asks Priyanka

Why did BJP govt not implement Assam Accord? Priyanka Gandhi asks in poll-bound Assam

Lashing out at the BJP, Priyanka said the ideology of BJP and RSS had no place for the unique culture and identity of the people of Assam

Priyanka is on a two-day visit to Assam as part of Congress's camapaign for the three-phase Assembly elections starting March 27 till April 6. Gandhi visited Kamakhya temple in Guwahati on Monday morning before visiting Lakhimpur. Credit: PTI

In her apparent effort to cash on the regional sentiment ahead of Assembly elections in Assam, Congress general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra on Monday asked why the BJP government did not implement Clause 6 of the historic Assam Accord, which was signed in 1985 during her father Rajiv Gandhi's tenure as Prime Minister.

"I was just 13 years old then. I was having dinner when I heard my father talking about the Assam Accord. When I asked him about it, he told me that he wanted his party to sign the Assam Accord even as he knew that Congress was going to lose the election in Assam then. My father wanted good for Assam even if it did not retain his party in power. Home minister Amit Shah said they will implement Clause 6 of Assam Accord but why did they not fulfill the promise?" Gandhi asked while addressing party workers in North Assam's Lakhimpur district. 

Priyanka is on a two-day visit to Assam as part of Congress's camapaign for the three-phase Assembly elections starting March 27 till April 6. Gandhi visited Kamakhya temple in Guwahati on Monday morning before visiting Lakhimpur. 

Read | BJP keeps mum on implementing CAA in Assam: Priyanka Gandhi

Assam Accord was signed following the six-year long anti-foreigners movement (1979-1985). It promised to detect, delete and deport all the post-1971 foreign migrants. Clause 6 of the Accord promised to grant Constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to the Assamese people. Asom Gana Parishad defeated Congess and came to power in the election that happened after the signing of the Assam Accord. 

As the anti-CAA agitation in Assam turned intense in 2018, the Centre had set up a committee to work out ways for implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord. The government promised to implement the committee's report but later backtracked saying the recommendations were not legally tenable. 

This provided Congress and other opposition parties in Assam to attack BJP ahead of Assembly elections. But many in BJP questioned why the Congress did not take any step for its implementation during its 15 years in power (2001-2016). 

Lashing out at the BJP, Priyanka said the ideology of BJP and RSS had no place for the unique culture and identity of the people of Assam. "You have to discern them for protection of your identity and culture. These people had promised 2.5 million jobs but they could not give 80,000 jobs. Prices of LPG cylinders have increased again today. Prices of petrol/diesel are going up. When people of Assam were suffering from the coronavirus pandemic and serious floods, they did not come. Now when the election is round the corner, he (PM Modi) has made four rounds. Why are they not giving sufficient daily wages to tea garden workers? You have to see them for who they are and vote," Gandhi said. 

Priyanka also urged people to vote for Congress-led grand alliance of seven parties including Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front and BJP's former ally Bodoland People's Front.

Priyanka also visited birth place of Madhab Deb, disciple of 15th century Vaishnavite saint, Srimanta Sankardeva, in what is seen as a counter to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's recent visit to Batadrava, the birth place of Sankardeb in Central Assam's Nagaon district. 

Gandhi will address a rally in Tezpur in North Assam on Tuesday.