Since the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, spearheaded by Congress leader Rahul Gandhi, reached the northeastern state of Assam, a series of verbal jabs and exchanges have ensued between him and the Chief Minister of the state, Himanta Biswa Sarma. The Congress has accused Sarma of attempting to sabotage the Yatra by deploying 'goons,' while the Assam CM asserted that Gandhi became agitated when the crowd started chanting 'Jai Shri Ram.'
On Tuesday, Himanta even ordered the state DGP to register an FIR against Rahul Gandhi for inciting Congress supporters to break barricades to enter Guwahati city after his Yatra was denied permission to enter.
This ongoing conflict between the two leaders is not unexpected and has roots in a longstanding history, contributing to the existing bitterness between them.
Rahul kept feeding biscuits to dog 'Pidi': Himanta's famous claim
Himanta Biswa Sarma left the Congress party in 2015 to join the BJP.
In 2017, when Rahul shared a Twitter video featuring his dog enjoying biscuits, Sarma accused him of ignoring the leaders from Assam who had gone to meet him in past and kept feeding his dog.
"Sir @OfficeOfRG, who knows him better than me. Still remember you busy feeding biscuits 2 him while We wanted to discuss urgent Assam's issues," Himanta wrote on X (formerly Twitter).
Since then, Himanta has consistently referred to the incident to mock Rahul Gandhi.
Himanta recalled the same incident in February 22 to attack the Congress leader. "Mr. Rahul Gandhi, those who prefer to feed biscuits to dogs in the presence of leaders from Assam and then offer them the same biscuits should be the last people to talk about political decency. High command mindset is INC’s be all and end all. The people of India know it well," Himanta wrote on X again.
Rahul's public attack against Himanta in Yatra
Even after assuming the role of CM in Assam, Himanta continued his criticism of Gandhi, going as far as likening him to 'Saddam Hussein' due to his beard during the Bharat Jodo Yatra.
However, Rahul Gandhi had refrained from launching direct attacks against Sarma until the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. Upon reaching Assam, during a public rally, Gandhi stated that Himanta Biswa Sarma is the "most corrupt CM" in the country and could "teach corruption" to other BJP chief ministers.
On the inaugural day of the 'Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra' in Assam, Gandhi sharply criticised Sarma, declaring, "Perhaps, the most corrupt government in India is in Assam. You know what is happening here. We will raise the issues of Assam during the Yatra."
Since then, Gandhi has escalated his criticism, repeatedly referring to Sarma and his family as the "most corrupt."
Sarma, in response, said, "Anything abusive , that comes from the so called Gandhi family, I consider it as a blessing. Because this gives me the energy to fight against a family which considers itself to be the most powerful. But I want to ask only one thing , can any one be more corrupt then the Gandhi’s? - Bofors Scam, National Herald Scam, Bhopal Gas Tragedy, the escape of Anderson, 2G scam, Coal Scam, etc (the list is huge and it goes on & on )"
Congress claims attacks on Yatra
Following a verbal exchange between Rahul and Himanta, the conflict between the two parties has intensified. Congress asserts that the Yatra was targeted by BJP 'goons' on two occasions in the last three days.
Adding to the bitterness, Rahul Gandhi was denied entry into the Shankar Dev Mandir on Monday without clear reasons. Police prevented him from entering the temple and suggested he visit after 3 PM. In protest, Rahul Gandhi staged a demonstration outside the temple, reciting Mahatma Gandhi's Raghupati Raghav Raja Ram Bhajan.
Himanta denies Rahul entry into Guwahati city
On Tuesday, as the Yatra approached the entrance of Guwahati city, clashes erupted between Congress supporters and the police. The state government led by Himanta Biswa Sarma had prohibited the Yatra from entering the city, but Rahul Gandhi was determined to lead it through Guwahati.
Rahul Gandhi claimed that he was denied the opportunity to engage with students in Guwahati, and the police instructed his Yatra to relocate while he was addressing the public from the roof of the bus.
In response, Congress supporters proceeded to dismantle the barricades that had been placed by the police.
Himanta orders police to file case against Gandhi
After a Youth Congress leader posted a video depicting Congress supporters removing barricades, Himanta Biswa Sarma announced on social media that he has instructed the state DGP to file an FIR against Rahul Gandhi for inciting the crowd.
These are not part of Assamese culture. We are a peaceful state. Such “naxalite tactics” are completely alien to our culture. I have instructed @DGPAssamPolice to register a case against your leader @RahulGandhi for provoking the crowd & use the footage you have posted on your handles as the evidence. Your unruly behaviour and violation of agreed guidelines have resulted in a massive traffic jam in Guwahati now," Himanta wrote.
The tensions between Sarma and Gandhi have heightened in recent days. It remains uncertain whether Sarma will permit Gandhi's Yatra to traverse through Guwahati city. Additionally, the unfolding situation will determine whether any actions will be taken against Gandhi as the Yatra progresses through Assam.