Guwahati/Bhopal: The BJP's campaigning has turned particularly vicious in Assam with at least two of its senior leaders attacking the Congress party and its top leadership.
Besides referring to its main rival as one taking Pakistan founder Mohammad Ali Jinnah's path with its political alliance in the state, the ruling party's star campaigners also reportedly likened the Gandhi family to "serpents", according to NDTV. The Assam BJP is fighting for a second term in the state with the Assembly election scheduled for March 27, April 1 and April 6.
Apart from Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, the BJP has arrayed a string of big names to campaign in Assam. On Monday, it was the turn of party chief JP Nadda and Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.
Addressing a rally in Dibrugarh, Chouhan said, "Rahul baba, the Congress and, (AIUDF chief) Badruddin Ajmal are on the path of Mohammad Ali Jinnah who divided India. This grand alliance can't secure the future of Assam, they can only divide Assam. The Congress is also divided into many groups and Rahul baba will end the Congress dynasty," Chouhan said.
He was referring to the Congress's newly-cemented alliance with the All-India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by Ajmal, a perfume trader and social activist.
Later, speaking in Duliajan, he raised the pitch considerably, likening the Congress's top leadership, the Gandhi family, to serpents. "The divisive path of Congress and Rahul will not be accepted by the people of Assam and the country. The Congress has become an SRP - 'sarp' - party. S for Sonia, R for Rahul, P for Priyanka. It is a party whose leaders indulge in drama," he said, according to ANI.
Speaking at another rally in Naharkatia earlier, the Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister, in the presence of his Assam counterpart, Sarbananda Sonowal, had compared the Congress-AIUDF alliance in similar caustic terms.
"The Congress has allied with Badruddin Ajmal, who has filled Assam with infiltration...He has a perfume business, but is spreading poison in the society... If naagraj and saapraj ally, then Assam cannot be developed," he had said. Both naagraj and saapraj mean the "king of snakes".
In the meantime, Mr Nadda, the BJP National President, spoke at a rally in Sootea constituency of Biswanath district, where he said the Congress's return to power will bring back a government of "ghotala" (scam)."I've been told that the Congress gave guarantees to the people of Assam…I can guarantee you about one thing: If they come to power, there will only be ghotala, ghotala, and ghotala," Mr Nadda said.
He was referring to Congress General Secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra's official announcement in which she guaranteed - if voted to power - a law preventing the Citizenship Amendment Act from being implemented in the state, five lakh government jobs, raising tea workers' wages to Rs 365, free electricity up to 200 units per household, and Rs 2,000 monthly income support to all housewives.
Mr Nadda was campaigning for Asom Gana Parishad-turned-BJP leader Padma Hazarika who had been an MLA from the constituency since 1996. The Congress has only one mission and it is 'commission'. The BJP, on the other hand, has taken up to ensure sanskriti ka suraksha (protection of tradition) and samridhi (prosperity) as its mission," he said.
The Congress party has reacted sharply to BJP leaders' statements. Some of them tweeted to express anguish.