Reacting to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's "double-engine" growth pitch for the upcoming Assam assembly election, the Congress-led opposition alliance has alleged that the ruling BJP has been running a "double-chief minister government" in the state - an apparent jibe at Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and the most powerful minister in his cabinet, Himanta Biswa Sarma.
PM Modi, who was in Dhemaji town in upper Assam today to inaugurate multi-crore projects in the oil and gas sector and two engineering colleges, said, "Assam has everything that is enough for the Assamese people. We just need to ensure that the double-engine of development (BJP governments in Assam and at the Centre) that is already in place is strengthened".
After the event, the opposition Congress and its allies - Badaruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF, Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) and three Left parties - questioned the BJP government's "silence" on key issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA), unemployment, the scheduled tribe status to six communities, minimum wages for tea labourers and rising prices of essentials.
"In Assam, they have established a government of double chief ministers, everyone knows this. So, this double-chief minister government or double-engine government has pushed Assam to backwardness. The economy has been devastated. So where is the double-engine growth?" Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora told NDTV.
"Likewise, even after five years, why has the minimum daily wage of tea workers not increased from Rs 167 to Rs 351, as demanded by the tea community. Only when our party leader Rahul Gandhi recently announced that the minimum daily wage (would be) increased to Rs 365 per day if the Congress comes to power, that the BJP government raised the wage by only Rs 50," he added.
"Forget double engine, this doesn't even have a proper single engine, but it has two drivers, each of them pulling the government either ways and thereby causing frequent accidents. There is no Modi wave; the BJP is trying to push its agenda, but it wouldn't work," said AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam.
Assam will go to polls in the coming months.