Congress questions BJP on newspaper advertisement

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PTI

Guwahati

Launching a scathing attack on  the BJP, Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora on Monday questioned the need for the saffron party to spend crores of rupees on a newspaper advertisement if it’s confident of winning all the assembly seats in Upper Assam that went to polls in the first phase on March 27.

The Congress has lodged an FIR against Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP chief J P Nadda, state president Ranjit Kumar Dass and eight leading newspapers for “camouflaging an advertisement as news” predicting the saffron party’s victory in all the seats in Upper Assam.

It has accused the saffron party of violating the Model Code of Conduct (MCC), provisions of Section 126A of the Representation of People Act, 1951 and the ECI’s directives issued on March 26.

Bora alleged that there is no unanimity among BJP leaders over their prediction and they are hiding their failure by putting up such advertisements.

“At first, the BJP had said it will win 46 seats, then the advertisement claimed the saffron party will emerge victorious in all the 47 seats. The state BJP president later said his party will win 42 seats and finally, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said the BJP will secure 37 constituencies.

“There is no unanimity among the BJP leaders on the number of seats they are expected to win as they want to mislead people and hide their failure. If they are so confident of winning all the seats in the first phase, why did they have to spend crores of rupees on the newspaper advertisement,” he told reporters.

The state Congress had filed a complaint with Assam Chief Electoral Officer Nitin Khade and the AICC with the Election Commission of India against the publication of the advertisements on Sunday urging immediate action against the BJP and the newspapers.

“The question also arises under what circumstance was the BJP forced to spend crores of rupees on advertisements predicting its victory. If it is confident of winning, why will it spend money to stress it? Journalists and other agencies are would have anyway done their assessment and filed reports highlighting the trends,” he said.

Bora said that the people of Assam have realised that the BJP is out to fool them and they will not give the saffron party the responsibility of running the next government in the state.

“The foundation for the formation of the Grand Alliance government after May 2, when results will be declared, was laid in the first phase of the polling in which around 80 per cent of the 81.09 lakh voters exercised their franchise,” the PCC chief said.

The AICC and the party’s state unit have closely monitored the situation and calculated that the Congress will win more than 30 seats in the first phase, he said.

Bora said that people of Assam are convinced that only Congress can protect their identity and culture by not allowing the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act.

“Even if Nadda says that CAA is a central legislation, he seems to have forgotten that the state government will have to ratify it for implementation. We will not ratify it if we come to power in Assam,” he said.

Bora said his party will repeal the law if it comes to power at the Centre in the 2024 Lok Sabha elections.

He said the Congress had not given any advertisement but over 1.75 lakh youths have registered themselves for the job guarantee campaign and over 75,000 of them have interacted with party leaders in the constituencies that went to polls in the first phase.

“We do not mislead people or make promises without proper planning. Former prime minister and renowned economist Dr Manmohan Singh has examined our job guarantee campaign and given a viability report, after which it was presented before the people,” he said.

The BJP, on the other hand, makes provocative statements and announces unfeasible schemes without proper planning, just to mislead people and win elections.

“We thank the people for showing immense maturity by not getting swayed by such claims and coming out in large numbers to exercise their franchise for bringing a change,” Bora added.