Drastic U-Turn As Assam CM Sarma Attends ABVP’s State Convention

Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma expressed his congratulations while visiting the 28th state convention of the state unit of the student group Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP) on Sunday.

Speaking on the occasion in Guwahati, CM Sarma said, “Assam is like a fast-flowing river for India’s cultural foundation. Today, a new Assam has come to life.”

The Assam chief minister today attended the ABVP’s gathering (BJP) after claiming before that the student organisation had no ties to the Bharatiya Janata Party. He had made the remarks in August of last year in the midst of a verbal exchange between the two parties about the issue of the language of instruction at government-aided schools in Assam.

“ABVP is not part of the BJP and is no way related. They can protest as much as they want but I cannot do anything,” he had said amid strong opposition from ABVP to the state government’s decision to introduce English as the medium of instruction from Classes 3 to 10 in state-run schools.

Speaking to the gathering today, CM Sarma asserted that a community’s language could not be viewed as its primary identity. He said, “Language cannot be the only identity of a community. It also cannot by a symbol of culture. The greatest identity of our culture is religion.”

The Assam CM continued by saying that a religion can only flourish when its language does. Taking a swipe at left aligned parties, he said, “Leftists always create conflict over language. Assamese community has become the minority in lower Assam regions.”

Speaking further, CM Sarma said, “The local people should continue consuming drinks like Rahi and Apong. They should not be introduced to foreign liquors. It would be great if these drinks start to dominate markets.”

 CM Sarma also took to Twitter to write, “Student’s Power Nation’s Power! Glad to be present at the 28th State Convention of @ABVPAssam at Guwahati.”

“ABVP has always strived to work for nation building & creating youth leaders in the nation on the ideals of Swami Vivekananda. My best wishes to all the karyakartas,” added CM Sarma.

In the midst of a heated language dispute, CM Sarma had earlier stated in August of last year that ABVP and the BJP have no affiliation and that they are free to ask people not to vote for him if they so choose.

His response came after the student group insisted that Assamese be used as the primary language of instruction in all state-funded public schools. The state government’s decision to make English the primary language of instruction in government schools from Classes 3 through 10 was vigorously opposed by the ABVP.

The ABVP chapter in Assam had pleaded with the government to rethink its course of action, but it backfired when Assam Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah made crude remarks and compared the student group to robbers and dacoits.

Interesting enough, Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah was elected to the Assam legislature from Nalbari, where the student organisation had launched its mass signature campaign.

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