Assam polls: Gogoi declares himself as captain for polls; rules out alliance

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New Delhi, Jan 22: Virtually anointing himself as the chief ministerial candidate for the fourth straight term, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday said the coming Assembly election would be a direct fight between him and Prime Minister Narendra Modi and ruled out any alliance.

"Everyone's face will be there. But I will be the captain. I am the General of the party and Modi is the General of BJP," he said at a press conference.

Tarun Gogoi

Gogoi was replying to a question on whether he would be the chief ministerial candidate of Congress or not in the state Assembly polls expected to be held in April-May. The 79-year-old Congress veteran also ruled out any alliance with any political party saying Congress is more interested for electoral "understanding" with "secular" parties to defeat BJP.

"I am going alone. There will be no seat sharing. There will be no 'mahajoth'. Only 'maha-understanding' with some secular parties to ensure BJP's defeat. Understanding means vote for Congress but not BJP. Vote for AGP but not for BJP," he said.

He said Congress vice president Rahul Gandhi has left it to him and the party's state unit to decide on the issue of alliance. Gogoi, who has been Chief Minister of Assam for last 15 years, however, admitted that the coming polls would be a tough one for Congress but he likes such challenges.

"BJP is eyeing Assam. It will be an interesting election. Every election is tough. I welcome tough election. A tough election makes us tougher," he said.

The Chief Minister said there is little anti-incumbency in Assam as such things come if there is a failure in implementing promises. "Whatever little anti-incumbency is there, it will be overcome by our development work," he said.

Launching a direct attack on Prime Minister, Gogoi said Modi is "not a dignified" Prime Minister as no Prime Minister in the independent India had criticised his or her predecessor the way Modi did recently.

"I have never met any Prime Minister blaming his predecessor. It is a great departure from precedent. Besides, whatever statement he made, it was not correct. He is not a dignified Prime Minister. I have not seen any Prime Minister condemning his predecessor," he said.

Modi, in a recent rally in Assam, had said that despite former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh being a Rajya Sabha member from the state, it has not seen the kind of development it would have come across.

"He made allegations against Manmohan Singh. I want to ask have all problems in Gujarat solved when he was Chief Minister for three consecutive terms. I know that 30,000 small and medium enterprises in Gujarat are sick. Farmers of Gujarat are in distressed state, they are unhappy," he said.

The Chief Minister said people of India had high hope when Modi was elected as Prime Minister and thought that he was the only man who can bring drastic change.

"But instead of concentrating on internal affairs, instead of solving country's problems, he is more interested on foreign affairs. No other Prime Minister has spent so much time in meeting NRIs than farmers. He enjoys the company of NRIs and CEOs," he said.

Gogoi also claimed that Modi is losing control over his ministers as different minister was making different statement on the same issue.

"I don't know whether he has hold over them or allow them to speak like that," he said.

Asked about former Congress leader Himanta Biswa Sarma's joining of BJP, Gogoi said his departure had helped the Congress and brought resentment in BJP.

He also ruled out taking help of poll strategist Prashant Kishor, who was widely credited for the victory of Nitish Kumar in Bihar polls last year and helping Modi during 2014 Lok Sabha polls.

PTI

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