Assam Assembly elections | CM Sonowal running cattle syndicate, says Bhupesh Baghel

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister, in Assam for campaigning, slams his counterpart

Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel said his Assam counterpart Sarbananda Sonowal, caught between two power centres, has been running a systematic syndicate instead of a government.

While the BJP has been seeking votes in the name of cow protection, the Sonowal government has encouraged cattle trade across the border with Bangladesh, Mr. Baghel, in Assam to campaign for the Congress, told journalists in Guwahati on Wednesday.

“Since the BJP came to power in Assam in 2016, cow trade and exports of cow meat to Bangladesh went up by 211% in just two years and even BJP MP Maneka Gandhi has written to the Assam government on the treatment given to cows. The syndicate is not limited to cattle trade. The Sonowal government has broken all records in illegal coal trading and there are syndicates in bamboo, betel leaf, fish…” he said.

Mr. Baghel called Mr. Sonowal a “dummy CM” caught between two power centres.

“The BJP talks of double engine. Truth is that one engine in Delhi is pulling Sonowal to one side and the other in Assam is pulling him in the opposite side. Everyone knows who or what this engine is,” he said, without naming Finance and Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is more visible than the Chief Minister.

The Chhattisgarh Chief Minister said the people of Assam regretted voting for the BJP in 2016. “The people want to undo the wrongs and not repeat the same mistake,” he said, adding that the splurging of the BJP government on the “tea tribes” was an indication that the BJP was getting nervous ahead of the elections.

“Assam’s plantation workers know that the Congress will increase their daily wage to ₹365 from the current ₹167. The confidence has come from Congress governments in Chhattisgarh and other States where we have delivered on our promises,” Mr. Baghel said, referring to the waiver of loans to farmers in his State within two days forming the government.

Mr. Baghel also slammed the Sarbananda government for failing to provide employment despite promising in the BJP’s 2016 vision document to give 4.6 lakh jobs to the people of Assam every year.

“In my information, 16.42 lakh people were unemployed between 2016 and 2018 and this figure has increased to 20 lakh in 2020. This implies that instead of giving employment, the BJP government has snatched jobs of around 5 lakh people,” he said.

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