It needs guts to tell a different story as like Assam’s Congress veteran Tarun Gogoi and party’s vice-president Rahul Gandhi did recently. During the visit to Assam, All India Congress Committee’s second most important leader after Madam Sonia Gandhi to Assam, both Gogoi and young Gandhi put a different theory relating to a Satra (Vaishnavite monastery) of Assam, which only aroused more confusion.
Otherwise the recently concluded two-day Assam visit by the young Congress Parliamentarian started well on December 11, 2015. Showcasing his growing matured personality as a politician, the Yuvraj interacted with a group of Self Help Group women, addressed a party meet and talked to some selected Assamese intellectuals in Guwahati.
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Even Rahul had another round of interaction with some distinguished media personalities in the next morning just before flying to Barpeta to participate in a harmony-walk there. As the winter had already gripped Assam, the morning was cold and also foggy that day to ultimately delay his chopper from Guwahati. Need not to mention that Rahul’s visit to western Assam was expected to attract a huge crowd by the party leaders with an inherent aim to nurture Muslim vote banks in Barpeta district. Presently Barpeta Parliamentary constituency is occupied by Sirajuddin Ajmal, a leader of pro-minority political party AIUDF, which was earlier won by Congress candidates repeatedly.
As he flew to Barpeta for the Padyatra, it was naturally expected that the Mr Gandhi would seek blessings from the Satradhikar (head of the monastery) of Barpeta Satra, a century old Vaishnavite monastery of lower Assam. But for any unknown reason, Rahul did not enter the monastery and joined the harmony march for around five km towards Medhertari, a Muslim dominated locality of the district. He also addressed a public rally there advocating communal harmony. But Rahul had never uttered a single word about any opposition he faced at Barpeta Satra just hours before. Till the rally was completed the debate was initiated by few Guwahati based satellite news channels, where a section of BJP leaders alleged that Rahul ignored the Satra with an aim to appease the Muslim voters. Few Barpeta residents also spoke to the media with condemnation for Rahul as he ‘ignored’ the sacred monastery. As the issue gained momentum, Assam CM Gogoi argued that Rahul had not shown any disrespect to the Satra, rather he was prevented by some people, influenced by RSS, to get inside the monastery.
Even a Congress legislator Chandan Sarkar, who is also a minister in Gogoi’s cabinet, explained a different theory that Mr Gandhi did not take bath in the morning and hence he avoided visiting the Satra.
With more to it, Congress’s Assam unit president Anjan Dutta in a press conference also echoed that Rahul was late while arriving at Barpeta and the Congress leaders were in hurry to reach the Medhertari rally where thousands had already gathered to listen to Mr Gandhi. So they preferred to postpone the Satra visit till the afternoon. The debate went out of proportion when Rahul himself claimed on December 14 in New Delhi that he was prevented by some RSS people from entering the monetary.
Lately the Burha Satradhikar of Barpeta Satra (senior head of the monastery) Basistha Dev Sharma came out with public announcement that nobody prevented Mr Gandhi on that day from entering the monastery. “I strongly deny all these allegations that Rahul Gandhi was opposed to come inside our Satra. Many senior Congress leaders including Bhumidhar Barman were also with me to welcome Rahul,” asserted Sharma adding that Mr Gandhi actually by-passed the main gate of the Satra and proceeded through a separate route for the rally.