With the process for election of the new Congress party president scheduled to begin tomorrow and with Rahul Gandhi almost sure to be elected unopposed, former Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said he would propose the name of the Gandhi scion as the party’s Prime Ministerial candidate for the 2019 General Elections.Speaking to The Assam Tribune today, Gogoi said that he had suggested Gandhi’s candidature as the Congress’ Prime Ministerial candidate before the last Parliamentary elections in 2014 and would do so again.
“The way things are now going on in the country, the likelihood of BJP losing the 2019 elections is increasing with each passing day. I am hopeful that in 2019 the Congress will come back to power at the Centre and Rahul Gandhi will be the Prime Minister,” he said.
Gogoi added, “Before the 2014 polls, I had proposed in the Congress Working Committee (CWC) that Gandhi be our Prime Ministerial candidate. I still wish to see him as India’s Prime Minister and I will do so (propose his name) again formally in the run-up to the next General Elections.”
Gogoi said that the serving Congress vice president is the only leader at the national level capable of putting up a contest with Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
“This is clear from what is happening in Gujarat. Gandhi has not even taken charge as our party president and yet BJP has made him the sole focus of its attacks. BJP leaders are having sleepless nights at the prospect of seeing Gandhi take over formal leadership of the Congress,” said the former Chief Minister, adding that the grand old party is going to regroup and take a new shape under Gandhi.
The schedule for the Congress party president’s election will kick off tomorrow with the beginning of filing of nominations. The last date for filing nominations is December 4. Scrutiny of nominations will be done on December 5 and the list of valid candidatures will be put out on the same day.
Barring some unforeseen developments, the 47-year-old Congress vice president is likely to be the sole candidate for the post of party president.
Meanwhile, the State Congress is planning to take up the eviction drives carried out in Amchang Wildlife Sanctuary and other places as a major poll plank in the forthcoming panchayat elections.
“When we were in power we looked at the issue of encroachment from a humanitarian angle. But the BJP-led regime, which promised to uphold the principles of jati, mati and bheti, has been totally insensitive to the indigenous people of Assam and has betrayed its mandate. Where will the people who have been evicted go, what will they eat, how will they survive? The government should have sought more time from the High Court for carrying out the eviction and used the window to formulate a proper rehabilitation strategy,” said Gogoi.
He also challenged the government to conduct evictions within the Guwahati city limits.
“They stopped such drives in Guwahati city because their local MLAs objected. Let the government show its guts and carry out anti-encroachment drives within the main city limit,” said the former Chief Minister.