Guwahati: Did Narendra Modi avoid coming to Guwahati to inaugurate the Khelo India Youth Games because there’s been no let-up in the agitation against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA)? No, said Assam finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma here Friday.
The Prime Minister was never scheduled to inaugurate the event in the first place, so the question of cancellation of his visit does not arise.
He said the Assam government indeed invited the PM to inaugurate the event, but the invitation was not accepted by the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
Despite the state government’s denial, security sources said the local authorities did advise the Union home ministry to defer the PM’s Assam visit.
Last month, the anti-CAA movement forced the Union government to postpone the Indo-Japan summit meeting between Modi and Shinzo Abe in Guwahati. Security sources said the reason for was obvious; there’s just been no respite from the protests against CAA in Assam.
The state government has been trying to appease the protesters by doling out welfare schemes and financial assistance to ‘satras’ (Vaishnavite monasteries) and sahitya sabhas. But the protesters are not biting.
The All Assam Students' Union (Aasu), which is leading the protests, has vowed to carry on until the CAA is scrapped. "Students will simultaneously study, agitate and play sports," remarked Aasu president Dipanko Kumar Nath.
The last is a reference to the Khelo India Youth Games, the third edition of which was kicked off on Friday.
Nath confirmed that Aasu did plan a vehement protest in case the Prime Minister came here to open the Games. A slogan was even coined: “Khelo India, Bhago Modi” (Play India, run Modi!)....