Gaurav Gogoi, 34, is the son of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Congress MP from Kaliabor. An articulate speaker, he is one of the key campaigners for his party. In an exclusive interview with THE WEEK, Gaurav shared his views about the challenges faced by the Congress in the upcoming assembly elections.
What is your poll plank?
The false promises of Narendra Modi in the Lok Sabha polls and the good work done by our government in bringing peace to the turbulent state.
How do you plan to take on Modi?
The chief minister has already taken the fight to Modi’s doorsteps by exposing his election claims of 2014 as mere rhetoric. His promise of granting scheduled tribe status to six tribal communities, of not giving even an inch of our land to Bangladesh and of not having big dam projects in upper Assam have all been proved to be fake promises.
The AGP was planning to ally with you, but it finally chose the BJP.
That the BJP is trying to cobble together a rag-tag coalition of ideologically polar opposites shows that only the Congress can offer a stable government. Every day, people get to see the AGP and BJP workers clashing, burning each others' offices and protesting against leaders. In the Congress office, there is a feeling of confidence, joy and anticipation.
Many powerful Congress leaders left the government. Himanta Biswa Sarma is now with the BJP.
It was a blessing in disguise. After these troublemakers left, the party has become united. We got time to work for the people and get ready for elections. Otherwise most of our time was consumed and distracted by internal disputes. Everyone is committed to the leadership of Rahul Gandhi.
There seems to be a sharp division on religious lines in Assam.
Polarisation is the only tool for the BJP to mobilise votes. Religion-based politics is its real face under the mask of development. The Congress represents the ethos of Assamese culture, which was forged by the 16th century saint Shrimant Shankar Deb and religious philosopher Azan Pir by combining multiple religions and communities together. We remind the people that ours is a land of harmony. Our founder saints have always preached unity in diversity and secularism.
The BJP is using religion as a tool, which is new to the political discourse of Assam. It is a dangerous omen. It needs to be countered and stopped and, therefore, many like-minded political entities, leaders and organisations have joined the Congress for not allowing the divisive politics of the BJP.
What is the most important issue for the Congress in the elections?
Peace is the one word. Peace is the foundation of development. Peace is the foundation of trust between diverse communities and peace is what people have seen in the last decade. We brought peace here. There was a time when people could not venture out of their houses. We brought normalcy and peace. The BJP's philosophy will not contribute to peace, but will aggravate tension. Last year, we have seen curfews in areas where it was never seen before. They want to sow seeds of distrust. But we have full faith in the people of Assam. The philosophies of Sankar Deb and Azan Pir are so strong that no RSS Hindutva ideology from Nagpur can take our culture away.