DIBRUGARH: Chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal on Thursday hit the campaign trail for the Sonari byelection by addressing a string of rallies in the assembly constituency which will go to polls on October 21. Sonowal campaigned at the Napuk Tea Estate, Teok Habi and Bhojo, at Sonari in Charaideo district .
The assembly seat will witness a direct contest between Nabanita Handique of BJP and Congress candidate Suresh Suri. No other candidate is in the fray for this seat.
The bypoll was necessitated after sitting MLA Tapan Kumar Gogoi of BJP contested for the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat and won. In the 2016 assembly elections, Gogoi caused an upset by winning the Sonari assembly seat. He defeated Congress heavyweight and state education minister Sarat Borkotoky by an impressive margin of 24,117 votes. A five-time MLA, Borkotoky had been representing the Sonari seat since 1991 before the saffron party registered its maiden win. Gogoi was later made the power minster in the Sarbananda Sonowal cabinet.
With an eye on tea tribe voters who constitute 49% of the total electorate of Sonari, Sonowal on Thursday addressed a huge poll rally at the Napuk Tea Estate which was mostly attended by members of the tea community. Highlighting several developmental programmes and ongoing projects in the state for tea workers like health programmes, education, skill development, power connections, LPG connections, concrete houses and other individual benefits, Sonowal said that his government was committed to ensuring the all-round development of the tea garden community which constitutes an important segment of the state's demography.
"After the BJP government came to power, it has been one of our commitments to solve the problems faced by the people belonging to tea community. In the past three years, we have introduced several schemes and in coming days, more schemes will be introduced for their benefit. The tea community has been contributing selflessly to the promotion of the state's economy and we aim to give better lives to the people who are working hard in the tea gardens," Sonowal said. "From opening of bank accounts for tea garden workers to wage compensation of Rs 12,000 to pregnant women, our government has brought them under the ambit of broad spectrum of development," he added.
The chief minister also lambasted Congress, accusing it of 'misgovernance' and 'corruption' during their 70-year rule. Praising Prime Minister Narendra Modi for good governance and all-round development, the chief minister said, "During the 70 years of Congress rule, corruption was at its peak and scams were an everyday affair. The Congress leaders used to snatch the benefits of government schemes meant for the poor. The party was synonymous with corruption, misrule and daily scams.
He added, "People in Assam also had to face the brunt of Congress misrule. Everything changed after Narendra Modi became Prime Minister. What he has done in last five years for the people of Assam and the northeast could not be done by Congress even in 70 years. Earlier, Assam was far behind other states of the country. After BJP came to power, significant developments have taken place within such a short period of time," Sonowal said.