GUWAHATI: Former Congress president Rahul Gandhi began his campaign for the upcoming Assam assembly election on Valentine’s Day on Sunday by appealing to Assamese sentiments and promising to the large gathering in upper Assam’s historic Sivasagar town that the party would defend the Assam Accord and resist the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) at any cost.
Boarding Field, which was brimming with supporters, reverberated with the popular slogan of the Assam Agitation of the 1980s — ‘ Ahoi Aah Olai Aah, Khedoi Khed Bideshik Khed’ (appealing to locals to come out of their homes and drive out illegal migrants) — as Rahul, wearing an indigenous red-and-white woven scarf, popularly called gamosa, addressed the rally.
Interestingly, the gamosa, often seen round PM Modi’s neck, was used as a protest symbol here with supporters putting a cross mark on them saying no to CAA.
“The Assam Accord brought peace to the state. The principles of the accord will be defended by me and the Congress party. We won’t step back even an inch.” said Rahul.
Unlike in West Bengal, BJP has gone almost silent on CAA in Assam, where violent protests rocked the state over the new law. Rahul said the Congress would teach a lesson to those who have attempted to breach the 1985 accord by bringing in CAA.
The legislation, protesting organizations feel, will turn Assam into a land of illegal ‘foreigners’ as it will regularize the entry of illegal non-Muslim Bangladeshis, who sneaked into Assam post 1971, the cut-off year for the detection and deportation of illegal foreigners from the state as endorsed in the accord.