Will reach majority mark in Assam from results of first 2 phases: Congress

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Guwahati, Apr 1 (PTI) The Congress on Thursday claimed that the alliance led by it will reach the majority mark of 64 in the 126-member Assam Assembly from the results of the first two phases of the election as the people of the state have responded to its 'positive campaign'.

Addressing a press conference here, AICC spokesperson Gourav Vallabh said that the Congress-led Grand Alliance is on track to achieve its target of winning 101 seats in the elections.

The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, has formed a Grand Alliance with the AIUDF, BPF, Left parties, the RJD and others to fight the Assembly election against the BJP-led NDA.

'With nearly 80 per cent polling in the first phase, the Congress is sweeping Upper Assam. Also, the information we are getting today, we will cross the majority mark after the second phase itself,' Vallabh said.

An estimated 79.97 per cent of voters in 47 seats exercised their franchise in the first phase on March 27, while the second phase of voting for 39 seats took place on Thursday. The third phase of the election for the remaining 40 seats will be held on April 6.

Senior Congress leader Manish Tiwari, who was also present at the press conference, said, 'The Congress has contested this election with a very positive campaign. The people of the state have responded to it very enthusiastically.' The people of Assam should be very careful about protecting the Constitutional privileges that the state and North East have got, he said.

Tiwari said, 'If the BJP comes to power again in Assam or (states of) Northeast, it is not far that Constitutional guarantees to this region like Articles 371B, and Sixth Schedule of the Constitution will also be curtailed.

Article 371B deals with special provisions with respect to Assam.

The Sixth Schedule of the Constitution provides for the administration of tribal areas in Assam, Meghalaya, Tripura and Mizoram to safeguard the rights of the tribal population in these states.

He said that the BJP abrogated the Article 370 which was about special provisions for Jammu and Kashmir, and brought an Act which will curtail the powers of the elected government of Delhi.

'Their (BJP's) idea of India is different from those who created the Constitution. They don't understand India. And they do not understand the border states of India,' the Congress MP said.

The former union minister said that the Assam election is very important for its future and is Constitutional position in the Indian perspective.

'The NDA brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. This law is totally unconstitutional. Religion cannot be the basis to determine citizenship. When the Supreme Court will hear this, I fully hope that the law's unconstitutionality will be out,' he said.

The objective of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act is to grant Indian citizenship to people of minority communities Hindu, Sikh, Jain, Buddhist, Parsi and Christian of Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who had come to India till December 31, 2014, due to religious persecution in these countries.

The state witnessed violent protests against the Citizenship Amendment Act in 2019 and five persons lost their lives. The protestors saw the law as a threat to their cultural identity and livelihood.

Tiwari said that the Congress-led UPA brought 27 crore people out of the Below Poverty Line category during its 10- year rule at the Centre.

'This was stated by current Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman in her last budget speech. On the other hand, 27 crore people have fallen in BPL category in the last seven years of the NDA,' he said.

India's economy grew at 7.8 per cent during the UPA's 10 years, while this year's GDP growth rate is minus 7.7 per cent, he added.

'Communal harmony is essential for the development of any state. The BJP's electoral model is religious polarisation between Hindus and Muslims. It is not attached to any religion, but only power,' he said. PTI TR NN NN