Cong's Yatra faces snag in Assam: Why is there spite between Himanta, Rahul? | Latest News India - Hindustan Times

Congress' Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra faces snag in Assam: Why is there spite between Himanta Sarma, Rahul Gandhi?

Jan 24, 2024 03:03 PM IST

The Assam CM and Congress MP have been exchanging blows after the Yatra entered the state. The friction could be dated back to 2014.

Senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh on Wednesday thanked Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma “for giving full publicity” to the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra through his statements, tweets and “threats”. “I would like to thank him that he made a lot of effort to make our Yatra a success,” the Congress general secretary in charge of communications said.

Congress MP Rahul Gandhi (L). Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Congress MP Rahul Gandhi (L). Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma.

“I would like to thank the chief minister of Assam; he gave full publicity to Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra without asking us - in Assam and across the country. His statements, tweets and threats have furthered the Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra. We are not scared; we won't be scared. We won't step back,” Ramesh said.

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Also read: ‘Because of Assam CM’s popularity': Union minister says Rahul Gandhi ‘lost his calm’

The Congress leader's statement came a day after CM Sarma directed Assam Police to lodge complaints against Rahul Gandhi, along with Congress leaders KC Venugopal and Kanhaiya Kumar, for “provoking crowd” after Congress workers clashed with police as they were stopped from entering Guwahati on Tuesday.

High-tension drama in Assam over Yatra

Kickstarted on January 14 from Manipur, the Rahul Gandhi-led Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra faced several roadblocks as the campaign entered Assam, to which Jairam Ramesh earlier said, “Even the first Bharat Jodo Yatra did not face so many difficulties even when passing through BJP-ruled states.”

Ahead of resuming the Yatra's 11th day, Rahul Gandhi renewed his attack on Himanta Sarma and called him the “most corrupt CM in the country". "The Chief Minister of Assam (Himanta Biswa Sarma) spreads hate all the time and takes away your (referring to the public) lands. He is the most corrupt chief minister," he said. This is the second time Gandhi has called Sarma “corrupt” during the Yatra.

In a tit-for-tat response, the Assam CM targeted the Yatra and called the Congress MP's family “the most corrupt family in the country”. “Gandhi family is the most corrupt family in the country. This is not ‘Nyay Yatra, it’s ‘Miya Yatra’. Wherever there are Muslims, they visit those places,” he had said earlier.

After clashes and the breaking of barricades near the Guwahati border as Congress workers were intercepted to enter the city, the Assam Police lodged complaints against Rahul Gandhi, KC Venugopal and Kanhaiya Kumar.

Himanta Sarma was once close to Rahul Gandhi

Himanta Biswa Sarma started his political career in 2001 with Congress and became a four-time member of the legislative assembly from the party. He had also been appointed minister in different state ministries for 12 years. In 2014, he resigned from the Assam cabinet after a rift with then-CM Tarun Gogoi. He was believed to be close to Rahul Gandhi and was made the party in charge during the 2011 Assam assembly elections.

According to LiveHindustan, Sarma worked tirelessly during the 2011 election campaign, and the party won 78 out of 126 seats. The consensus was that Sarma would become the next CM of the state, but the party's decision was not in his favour.

Sarma left Congress disappointed

According to LiveHindustan, Sarma approached Rahul Gandhi and Sonia Gandhi over the appointment of the next CM after the 2011 poll victory, but his attempts failed. Meanwhile, fissures between him and Tarun Gogoi were taking shape when the then-CM was trying to sideline Sarma and bring his son Gaurav Gogoi to the forefront. The entire episode enraged Sarma, who finally left the party in 2015 disappointed.

Sarma has been launching attacks on Rahul Gandhi after leaving Congress. He had claimed that the Congress MP was not a “serious leader” and revealed that Gandhi used to allegedly go out jogging or into some other room in the middle of a conversation. He alleged that Rahul Gandhi had “arrogance” in him.

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