Tarun Gogoi reiterates his fight is against Modi

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New Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Ahead of the assembly elections in later Assam this year, Congress Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi reiterated on Wednesday that his fight is against Prime Minister Narendra Modi and not against BJP’s chief ministerial candidate Sarbananda Sonowal, who is also union Minister of State for Sports and Youth Affairs.

“My fight is not against Sarbananda Sonowal but against Modi. However, it is not against him individually but against his policies,” said Gogoi, who is serving his third consecutive term as chief minister of the northeastern state.

He said the Congress would single-handedly win a majority in the elections.

“The BJP does not have any of their original people in the state. I would call it the most adulterated party,” he said, referring to the defection of his one-time blue-eyed boy and former health and education minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and other Congress lawmakers to the BJP.

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“Himanta’s going away is a blessing in disguise and the BJP will be destroyed now,” he added.

Asked if he was not facing a an anti-incumbency factor this time, the chief minister said this would have arisen only if he had failed to deliver.

“Anti-incumbency would have arisen only if my performance had deteriorated year after year. But our performance has always been improving,” he said.

Gogoi, who received on behalf of Assam an Economic Times award for excellence in the power sector, said his government has been continuously working for the development of the state since it came to power in 2001.

Apart from Assam, three other states – Haryana, Rajasthan and West Bengal – received the awards for excellence in the power sector.

“The difference between these states and Assam is that these were not as bad in shape as Assam was in 2001, whether it be insurgency or natural calamities,” Gogoi said.

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“Not only the power sector, roads, health, everything was in bad condition when we came to power in 2001,” he said.

Stating that developing the power sector took time compared to other sectors, the chief minister said that he had given priority to this sector from the very beginning.

“We had to take the help of ADB (Asian Development Bank) to develop the power sector,” he said.

Giving statistics, Gogoi said that in 2001 there were 920,000 power consumers in 2001 while now the figure is 3,400,000.

“The installed capacity then was 192 MW. Now it is 379 MW,” he said.

He said of Assam’s 21,000 villages, over 8,300 were fully electrified, 12,000 were partially electrified and 1,000 were still without electricity.

“On the one hand, they (the NDA government at the Centre) say we have not done anything in 15 years, on the other they give us awards,” Gogoi said.

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Union Minister of State for Power Piyush Goel, Minister for Railways Suresh Prabhu and Minister of State for Urban Development Babuk Supriyo were present in Tuesday’s award distribution ceremony.

“Modi says Tarun Gogoi and (former prime minister) Manmohan Singh did not do anything. Then, how come they are giving us awards?” the chief minister asked.

He said the projects that Prime Minister Modi inaugurated in Assam earlier this month were initiated by his predecessor Manmohan Singh.

“The gas cracker project (in Dibrugarh district), the wax producing unit (in Numaligarh refinery) and the IIIT (Indian Institute of Information Technology) are all our projects,” Gogoi said.

“The whole construction of the house was done by us. They just gave it a coat of paint and opened it,” he added.

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