Tarun Gogoi, Assam Chief Minister

Hemanta Kumar Nath is a correspondent and photojournalist based in Assam, India, who reports on local news in Assam, the north east Indian state.

Guwahati, November 29 : Yesterday, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi said that the statement he made about Hindi-speaking people was twisted and wrongly interpreted by both Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav.

Gogoi said Venkaiah Naidu and other BJP leaders twisted his words out of context to fulfil their own vested political interests.

“I have never uttered anything against the Hindi speaking people. My statement has been twisted out of context by Union Minister Venkaiah Naidu and other BJP leaders to give it a different colour. In fact, what I said was, the State unit of BJP has become a Hindi-centric party wholly dominated by Hindi speaking leaders,” Gogoi said.

Tarun Gogoi, Assam Chief Minister
Tarun Gogoi – Kolkata 2013-02-10” by Biswarup Ganguly. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Commons.

Gogoi has led the Assam government for the past 14 years. He said that throughout his time in government, he safeguarded the interests of the Hindi-speaking people in the State.

He also said his Government would soon set up a Development Council for Hindi-speaking people to enhance their growth and development. Assam is the only state that sets up Development Councils for minority groups.

“Assam is the only State having Development Councils for minority communities, including the Hindi-speaking people,” Gogoi said.

To show what he is doing for Hindi speakers, Gogoi said he heads the Rashtrabhasa Prachar Samiti, takes steps to promote Hindi language, and takes part in Hindi literary meets.

“In my entire political career spanning several decades during which I was the AICC in-charge for Bihar and UP, I have been all along working for the interests of all sections of people, including the Hindi-speaking people. Espousing the cause of Assam and its people has always been uppermost in my mind,” Gogoi said.

The Assam CM noted that his Council of Ministers comprises representatives from different communities, including Hindi-speakers.

“My Council of Ministers consists of representatives from different communities, including Hindi-speaking people. Even my Parliamentary Secretary is a Hindi-speaking person. Unlike the BJP party dominated by Hindi-speaking leaders whose writ runs on our spineless local BJP leaders who more often remain mute for their petty interests, our Hindi-speaking leaders in the Congress party only advise us on important issues but in no way diktat terms,” Gogoi said.

Accusing national BJP functionaries of trying to impose Hindi pronunciations on the Assamese, Gogoi said those people are trying to create trouble, and they don’t understand local issues, nor do they know how to pronounce Assamese names.

“BJP’s Assam in-charge Mahendra Singh has referred to Srimanta Sankardeva (Vaishnavite saint) as Baba Sankardeo, which is totally unacceptable. All these leaders do not even know how to pronounce Assamese names. They call former BJP state president Sidhartha Bhattacharya as Sidharth, present president Sarbananda Sonowal as Sonwal and Himanta Biswa Sarma as Hemant Biswa Karma. Actually the problem lies with these BJP leaders is that they do not understand the local sentiments and issues,” the Assam CM said.

Gogoi said the BJP is sending people to Assam to woo the voters with many promises, but they ignoring important issues that the people of Assam care about.

“If they really love Assam the BJP-led Government would not have deprived Assam and other North Eastern States by withdrawing the Special Category status, suspension of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, slashing of Central funds, besides going back on its election promises of sending back all the Bangladeshis and containing price rise if it assumed power at the Centre,” Gogoi quipped.