Guwahati: After the major poll debacle in Assam last year, the Congress that ruled the state for 15 years is trying to regroup itself on the plank of the notes ban issue and return as a formidable opposition party in the state. While many of its leaders have moved to BJP and some have chosen total isolation, only a few can be seen in the party offices across Assam.
Congress organised a massive rally to protest the government's decision to scrap Rs 500 and 1,000 notes in Guwahati on Saturday. Former Assam chief minister and senior Congress leader Tarun Gogoi hit out at the way the currency ban, announced in November of last year as a move to combat corruption and black money, has been implemented by the government at the centre.
"Normalcy has still not returned to the country even after 50 days, the poor are facing difficulties after the decision, rich people in the country remain unaffected and their black money also seems safe. Those who lost their lives due to demonetisation have not got any compensation," Mr Gogoi said.
Thousands of Congress supporters in Guwahati today marched to the Deputy Commissioner's office to hand over a memorandum to the Prime Minister asking for immediate repeal of the notes ban.
While this was part of Congress's nationwide protests against the centre's move to scrap higher denomination currency, in Assam this is seen as a great scope for the sinking party to regroup.
"Demonetisation has been anti-poor. Congress as a party has always been with the poor people. Thus we are raising our voice. In Assam and north-east we have faced disappointment politically but here we are all together and have hit the streets with a political campaign once again," said Congress lawmaker Gaurav Gogoi.
Not only has Congress lost its turf to BJP in Assam, the neighbouring state of Arunachal Pradesh too is ruled by a BJP government now. In Manipur, elections are a month away and Congress will be fighting anti-incumbency to a 15 years' rule.