BJP hits Guwahati streets, Gogoi terms it desperation

Guwahati: Street protests by the BJP rocked Assam’s main city Guwahati on Wednesday as thousands of its supporters took out a massive rally to the state legislative assembly while its winter session was on.

Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi termed it a desperate attempt of the Bharatiya Janata Party to create law and order problem in the state so that Presidents’ Rule can be imposed ahead of the next year’s polls.

Several BJP leaders, including Lok Sabha members Ramen Deka from Mangaldai constituency, Bijoya Chakraborty from Guwahati constituency, and several others were injured as police lobbed tear gas shells and used force to prevent protestors from entering the assembly premises.

The protestors earlier gathered at the city’s Khanapara area in the morning and marched towards the assembly in state capital Dispur, raising slogans against the Gogoi-led state government.

Despite heavy police deployment and barricades in and around Dispur, the huge number of protestors managed to break the barricades at several places and continued their march towards the assembly. Police resorted to use of force and fired tear gas shells to disperse the protestors.

BJP leader and party’s observer for Assam, Mahendra Singh and several leaders were detained by police.

“Tarun Gogoi-led government is resorting to most undemocratic means by preventing our members from peaceful protests. We are only protesting peacefully but the government has asked police to resort to firing in air and use tear gas shells. How can the government prevent the right to protest? It’s everyone’s right,” former Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said.

“The Congress leaders had taken out a rally a few days ago to the Governor’s House in Guwahati to demand the ouster of government. If the Congress members can be allowed to protest, how can they stop the BJP members?” asked the BJP leader.

He also alleged police and security forces in different parts of the state prevented BJP members from coming to Guwahati for Wednesday’s protests.

Gogoi, while terming the protest as an attempt by the BJP to create law and order problem in the state, told reporters: “The BJP leaders are also inciting extremist elements in the state to create law and order problems here. BJP leader Mahendra Singh has taken the lead in this regard.”

He said it was the second attempt by the BJP to impose Presidents’ Rule in the state. “First attempt was made when Himanta Biswa Sarma resigned and claimed that about 35 other Congress legislators would join BJP and the Congress government would be reduced to minority,” Gogoi said.

The chief minister said the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, Bajrang Dal and Hindu Sena have all been working as part of a strategy to create law and order problem for the state government.