Oppn parties join Cong 'satyagraha' in Assam against Rahul's disqualification
All opposition parties in Assam, barring the AIUDF, came together at the Congress-organised 'Sankalp Satyagraha' in Guwahati on Sunday to protest against the disqualification of Rahul Gandhi from the Lok Sabha following his conviction in a defamation case.
The AIUDF held a separate press conference, condemning the action against the senior Congress leader and termed it an ''attack on democracy and the Constitution''.
Hundreds of Congress workers participated in the day-long protest, organised as a part of nationwide programme against the BJP-led central government's action against its leader.
Leaders and representatives of 10 other opposition parties in the state, including Raijor Dal, Assam Jatiya Parishad, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), AAP and TMC, also participated in the 'satyagraha'.
Rahul Gandhi was disqualified from the Lok Sabha on Friday, a day after a court in Gujarat's Surat convicted him in a 2019 defamation case. The disqualification will bar Gandhi, a four-time MP, from contesting polls for eight years unless a higher court stays his conviction.
Addressing the gathering, state Congress president Bhupen Kumar Bora said, ''It is said 'morning shows the day'. Within 12 hours, we have been able to gather 11 parties here today. I am confident that if we work with the same resolve, people will stand with us to uproot the BJP from power.'' He said a public rally will be organised in Guwahati soon to mobilise people against the ''threat to democracy'' posed by the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
''In every district, block, we will create awareness about the threat to democracy by this current regime. We will organise public meetings everywhere and hold a mega rally in Guwahati soon over the issue,'' he said.
Borah, who had been against the Congress joining hands with the AIUDF, said the latter was not invited for Sunday's protest programme.
Terming the actions against Gandhi as an ''attempt to kill democracy'', Leader of Opposition in state assembly Debabrata Saikia of the Congress said, ''Our democracy is such that it allows all political parties to function together. But this BJP-led government is trying to kill this very spirit of our democracy.'' He alleged that the BJP is digging out 20-30 year old cases against opposition leaders and using agencies like the CBI and ED to ''intimidate'' them.
Raijor Dal chief and legislator Akhil Gogoi claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi has lost the courage to face Gandhi and hence, has tried to ensure that he cannot return to the Parliament.
''It is for the first time that the opposition parties have struck at their (BJP's) soft spot, the place from where their funds originate,'' he said, apparently referring to the opposition's charges of top leadership of BJP having close contacts with Adani.
Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan also hit out at Union government and asserted that the BJP rule will not last much longer.
Litterateur Dr Hiren Gohain, also participating in the protest, claimed that the government has acted against Gandhi as people were paying attention to him.
''Rahul Gandhi is emerging in a strong role, people are listening to him and that makes them afraid. He has shown with documents the prime minister's closeness to Adani,'' he maintained.
Meanwhile, AIUDF legislator Aminul Islam, addressing a press conference at the party office here, said the court sentence against Gandhi could set a wrong precedence.
''Nobody is ever handed a sentence of more than two years in a defamation case. It is for the first time that such a long term has been handed down. This could set a wrong precedence,'' the lawyer-turned-politician said.
He also maintained that the actions against Gandhi is an ''attack on democracy and the Constitution''.
''This government has been trying to muzzle opposition voices through the ED, CBI, like we have seen in the case of Manish Sisodia, Rahul Gandhi or Akhil Gogoi. Democracy is no longer safe,'' the AIUDF MLA added.
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)