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I do not need Bangladeshi vote: Gogoi

Written by: Staff
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Dibrugarh, Mar 28 (UNI) The Congress is seriously trying to shed its pro- Bangladeshi-image with an angry Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today saying that his party would romp home without a single vote from Bangladeshis.

''I do not need a single Bangladeshi vote. People of Asom will vote,'' he said while addressing a news conference here.

The Congress is often accused of appeasing Bangladeshi settlers in Asom and the BJP has made it a main poll plank.

''It is a wrong impression that the Congress comes to power only through the Bangladeshi settlers' vote. Congress came to power through indigenous Asomese vote and this time will also be no different,'' he said.

The Congress did enjoy the support of Muslim vote bank, which has been challenged this time with the formation of a minority party Asom United Democratic Front led by Badaruddin Ajmal.

Mr Gogoi targeted the BJP rather than the AGP in upper Asom. He blasted the BJP leadership, including L K Advani and Venkaiah Naidu, for finding time to come to Asom only during electioneering.

''They did not bother to look at Asom when it needed most. When they were in power, they neglected Asom and North East. Today, when they come asking for vote, I feel pity. Whatever development has taken place in Upper Asom happened during the last five years,'' he asserted.

Mr Gogoi and the Congress had been trying hard to shed the pro-Bangladeshi image, especially in upper Asom where Bangladeshi settlers' influence was negligible.

The BJP, on the other hand, has turned on the heat reducing AGP into the sidelines. They have been sending top leaders--from Naidu to Sushma Swaraj beside the Jharkhand leadership--to woo the tea voters as of the 27 seats of upper Asom, at least 24 are directly controlled by the tea voters.

''However they try, the tea labourers have understood what we have done and what the BJP is up to. I will not say anything, the result will speak,'' he said.

Upper Asom has remained a Congress citadel since independence and except in 1977 and 1985, it has always sided with the Congress.

UNI MT PL PK HT1450

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