‘Congress is playing a double game. Rahul Gandhi or Congress party is saying something different in Brahmaputra Valley and something different in Barak Valley.’
Guwahati: At a roadside eatery in Jagiroad Assembly constituency of Assam’s Nawgong Lok Sabha constituency, The Sunday Guardian caught up with Pijush Hazarika, Assam’s Minister of State [Independent] for Urban Development, Health & Family Welfare for a brief chat. Jagiroad is Hazarika’s Assembly constituency and he was on the campaign trail when he spoke to this newspaper. Excerpts:
Q: What exactly is the issue of the Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB) that I have been hearing about ever since I have come to Assam?
A: I don’t think there is any CAB issue. People of Assam need development and people of Assam need a strong government in the country—who can control the infiltrators, terrorists from Pakistan and develop the country where there are no poor people, there are good roads, good hospitals, good schools. So I think people of Assam will give vote for that reason to BJP.
Q: So are you not raising the CAB issue at all?
A: BJP has made a strong decision that those people who are religiously persecuted will be given place in India. It’s not that all will come, but those who are persecuted on the basis of religion. So we are saying it openly, but Congress is playing a double game. Rahul Gandhi or Congress party is saying something different in Brahmaputra Valley and something different in Barak Valley. Like the Congress’ main issue in Brahmaputra Valley is CAB, but in Barak Valley they are silent on CAB. We are not doing that. We have a single agenda. They have a double agenda. We are talking about development, strong leadership, sovereignty of the country. So I think people of Assam will vote to re-elect Narendra Modiji as Prime Minister of the country.
Q: Do you think CAB will have an effect on Upper Assam?
A: No. We are winning all seats in Upper Assam, even Tezpur. There we are winning by more than 2 lakh votes. Even Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Lakhimpur. Then we are wining Nawgong, Diphu (Autonomous District) and Silchar. We have a little bit of problem in Kaliabor and Karimganj. Mangaldoi and Gauhati we will win for sure.
Q: What are your ally’s chances?
A: We have given a very good fight in Kaliabor (Congress’ Gaurav Gogoi’s seat, from where BJP has fielded Asom Gana Parishad). Our ally partner AGP has given a very good fight in Kaliabor. And we are going to win Kokrajhar also. Our ally partner BPF (Bodo People’s Front) will win.
Q: And what about Silchar (Congress’ Sushmita Dev’s seat)?
A: Silchar we are going to win.
Q: How can you win everything?
A: Yes. We are winning. You wait and see the result. We are going to win at least nine seats and AIUDF will get two seats.
Q: Are you sure (Badruddin Ajmal’s party) AIUDF will get two as I am told they have become very weak.
A: No. We have a fight in Karimganj (against AIUDF). Congress is in the third position there. Dhubri, I think, AIUDF can win, but not Congress.