Congress completes shaky second year

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Guwahati, May 24 (UNI) Amidst serious law and order problem, a slipping economy and a resurgent Opposition, the Congress has completed its second year of second term not with a bang but with a whimper.

Official sources said here today that huge arrangements had been made at Guwahati for the celebrations tomorrow while the publicity wing has launched a media blitzkrieg highlighting the achievement.

''But the fact remains that last year was the worst of its eighth year from every parameter,'' former Chief Minister and AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said.

However, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi disagreed with Mr Mahanta's contention. ''We do not need certificate from anybody on our performance. The fact that we have been winning every single election since 1998 in this state is the clear indicator that we are on the right track,'' Mr Gogoi said.

The Congress has been on a roll since 1998, decimating the Opposition in every single election to the extent that it had become almost irrelevant till early this year.

''The Opposition are afraid of us. They cannot match us. The best part is that people of Assam are with us. We must be doing something good, that is why we are getting elected again and again,'' the chief minister said.

However, Leader of the Opposition Brindabon Goswami said, ''A look at the track record of the past few months will reveal everything. Such is the incompetency of this government, that the railway services had to be stopped in one district completely, snapping all links with Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur.'' The NF Railway has withdrawn its entire staff from the North Cachar Hills district following repeated harassment and killing of their employees by the Dimasa militants. As the state government has been unable to contain insurgency, the Railway has ordered the unprecedented withdrawal.

''We are trying to control militancy in the district. The problem is that the ruling coalition of the district council is in nexus with the militant groups,'' Mr Gogoi explained as not only the Railways but the Highway project had also been also wound up.

''The problem is Mr Gogoi himself. He has become so arrogant that he has become blind in his power. It was the Congress which created the Dimasa militants and now they are blaming us. He should accept the ceasefire offer made by the militants to bring peace in the district,'' Council leader Prakanta Warisa said.

In the Brahmaputra valley also insurgency problem was nowhere near solution. ''Even the Bodo problem has revived. The Congress supported the Hagrama Mohillary faction of the ruling Bodos undermining the moderate faction as well as the National Democratic Front of Bodoland. As a result Bodoland is burning again,'' BJP leader Ranjit Dutta said.

The fratricidal killings amongst the Bodos have taken more than 50 lives since February as the factions, backed by respective armed groups, are fighting out in open in the four districts of the Bodoland areas.

''We know how to run coalition governments and have been able to give a stable government because of which the economic activities both inside and outside the government have been increasing rapidly.

We are spending much more than what we used for the development of the state. From health to eductaion to road construction as well as power development we have been making significant progress and the results are all there to see,'' state government spokesman and Health Minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

But he could not give any satisfactory reply to the sharp fall in revenue collection which is now in the negative.

The resurgent Opposition is another headache for Mr Gogoi. The regional parties had been coming together under the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) besides talk of AGP and BJP going for seat sharing.

''The AGP is a party with no ethics. Sometimes they ally with the Left parties while at other times they go with the BJP. They are nothing but opportunists because they are afraid of us,'' Mr Gogoi said.

Meanwhile, AGP working president Phanibhusan Chouhdury said, ''Why should Mr Gogoi be worried about our moves. Let him celebrate second anniversary. We are going ahead to unite and will rest only when they are thrown out.'' UNI MT DPM NY KP1517

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