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Himanta vs Rahul at Peak: Congress' Assam Battle Over Ayodhya Ceremony No-Show

The political showdown may escalate in Assam as Himanta Biswa Sarma and Rahul Gandhi face off, all while Congress grapples with a missed opportunity at the Ayodhya ceremony.

Himanta vs Rahul at Peak: Congress' Assam Battle Over Ayodhya Ceremony No-Show
Image Source: PTI

Guwahati: Following clashes between Congress workers and Assam police, the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra faced restrictions from entering Guwahati. Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma instructed the state police to file a case against Rahul Gandhi for allegedly "provoking the crowd" during the incident. Sarma emphasized that such tactics are not part of Assamese culture and labeled them as 'naxalite tactics,' which he finds alien to their peaceful state. About 5,000 Congress workers, including Rahul Gandhi, were intercepted while attempting to enter Guwahati during the ongoing Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra.

 

Subsequently, in the aftermath, party members engaged in clashes with police, breaking through barriers. Law enforcement responded with a lathi-charge to disperse the crowd. Speaking near the Guwahati border, Rahul Gandhi asserted that while his party workers wouldn't break rules or disrupt law and order, it didn't imply weakness. He contrasted Congress with the Assam CM, Union Home Minister, and the PM, stating that they might break rules, but Congress would not. Standing atop a bus, he declared Congress workers as 'Babbar Sher' (lions), emphasizing strength. Before heading to Guwahati, Rahul Gandhi accused Union Home Minister Amit Shah of instructing the Assam CM to prevent his scheduled meeting with students. Earlier, Rahul Gandhi, accompanied by fellow Congress leaders, encountered a halt at Haiboragaon, where authorities denied them permission to continue. The intended purpose was for the former Congress chief to offer respects to the local deity before initiating his Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra on Monday.

 

In his efforts to counter the continuous attacks from Himanta Biswa Sarma, Rahul Gandhi is making a concerted attempt. Amidst the ongoing Yatra in Assam, Rahul strategically sought to provoke Himanta by labeling him the most corrupt chief minister in India. This move seemed aimed at diverting media attention towards himself and away from the Ram temple consecration ceremony. Without the presence of the Ram Mandir ceremony, Rahul Gandhi could have garnered tremendous media attention, placing him at the center stage of the political discourse in India.

 

However, the Congress party miscalculated in expecting to overshadow Narendra Modi on the political stage. In hindsight, they could have opted to send a representative, if not Rahul Gandhi himself, to attend the Ram Mandir ceremony in Ayodhya. Unfortunately, the Gandhi family declined the invitation. Instead of focusing efforts in Assam, if, at least, Mallikarjun Kharge had attended the ceremony, it would have posed a challenge for the organizers to include him in the list of those participating in the crucial ceremonial worship. Seating him among other guests could also have allowed the Congress party to assert that "it was a BJP function," and this narrative might have resonated well in the public domain as well. But, the event became associated with the BJP, not due to the BJP's effort, efforts but because the Congress party itself chose not to participate.

 

Rajiv Gandhi seemed adept at unlocking the political potential associated with Ram, while his son, Rahul, appears to have missed capturing that essence. Rahul Gandhi and the Congress party appear satisfied with challenging Himanta Biswa Sarma in Assam. However, the party could have gained significantly if they had chosen to attend the Ayodhya ceremony instead.


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