Paper Mill revival 'Dharna' becomes Congress' rally; Sushmita Dev calls Rajdeep Roy, Kripanath Mallah "Puppets"
In October 2015, when Tarun Gogoi was the chief minister of Assam and Narendra Modi was the Prime Minister of India, Cachar Paper Mill was announced shut due to a shortage of working capital. On March 27, 2016, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and then a CM candidate from BJP Sarbananda Sonowal had held a huge public meeting in Panchgram.
There PM Modi appealed to the voters of Barak Valley, “Elect the BJP to Assembly and we will revive both Cachar and Nagaon Paper Mill.” Four years later, Assam Pradesh Congress President, Ripun Bora said the exact same thing. He made it clear that Congress will treat Paper Mills as an election issue.
Bora said, “Sarbananda Sonowal government only made fake promises. Instead of reviving the mills, the BJP conspired to sell it to private players. While in Kerala, the mills have been revived, in Assam, the employees had to die without treatment as they have not got their wages for more than three years.”
He assured, “Elect Congress to the state and the government will revive both the mills and bring an end to the mass suffering.”
Bora also took a jibe at the current BJP leadership. “They have made Assam into a syndicate-raj. All of them are busy filling their own pockets and building their personal properties. They have no time to think about the well-being of the local people,” said Bora.
Flouting COVID guidelines, hundreds gathered in the public meeting without masks. Leader of opposition in Assam Debabrata Saikia, MLA Rakibul Hussain, former minister Siddek Ahmed, Ajit Singh was also president in the public meeting. But it was Mahila Congress President and former MP, Sushmita Dev who was most fiery with her attack at the ruling government and especially the two members of parliament.
Dev said, “Rajdeep Roy and Kripanath Mallah are puppets of chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.” She talked about various aspects where Barak Valley remained deprived especially when it comes to employment opportunities and development.
Dev asserted that the people of Barak Valley are “fed up” of BJP’s fake promises and see Congress as an alternative without religious bias.
Though it was announced as a “Dharna” demanding the revival of Paper Mill, the “Congress Zindabad,” placards and the speeches made it clear that it was just another election rally.