Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi held a roadshow in Silchar, Assam, on Sunday to seek votes for party leader Sushmita Dev. This was her first campaign outside Uttar Pradesh for the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.
She criticised Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not finding time to visit his own constituency of Varanasi. “Then how will he find time to work for you?” she asked. The Congress general secretary dubbed the policies of the Bharatiya Janata Party as negative. “The Congress granted you special status, they removed it after assuming power,” she added.
The Congress leader also criticised the BJP manifesto, and said there was no space for different cultures and religions in it. Assam is currently updating its National Register of Citizens. Meant to be a roster of all the “genuine” Indian citizens living in Assam, the register is being updated for the first time since 1951. The National Register of Citizens in Assam has been an extremely controversial issue, with many saying they have been unfairly left out of the citizenship lists, while the BJP has touted the move as strong action against “infiltrators”. The BJP’s manifesto proposes to “implement the NRC in a phased manner in other parts of the country”.
Gandhi accused the BJP of trying to destroy the Constitution. “It is ‘Mahapurush’ Ambedkarji’s birth anniversary,” she said. “He laid the foundation of this country through the Constitution. It is the duty of every leader to respect that Constitution. Today, you are seeing that the Constitution is not respected and an attempt is being made to destroy it.”
Gandhi likened Silchar candidate Sushmita Dev to her grandmother and party veteran Indira Gandhi. “Sushmita resembles my grandmother Indira Gandhi. She has the fighting spirits of my grandmother,” claimed Gandhi.
Dev, who is the current Silchar MP, claimed Priyanka Gandhi’s popularity is nation-wide. “Being the All-India Mahila Congress president, I requested her and Rahul Gandhi to help by supporting me. Their visit will help enthuse supporters,” she said.
Silchar will vote in the second phase of the Lok Sabha polls on April 18.