Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday congratulated student organization Akhil Bharatiya Vidyarthi Parishad (ABVP), while attending the 28th state convention of its state unit.
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 CM today attended ABVP’s event having earlier claimed that the student organization had no relations to the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP). He had made the comments in August last year, amid a war of words between the two sides over the issue of medium 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.
However, addressing the gathering today, CM Sarma opined that language could not be seen as the only identity of a community. 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 went on to say that a religion will thrive only when a language thrives. 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.
Earlier in August last year, CM Sarma had said that ABVP has no relation with BJP and they can ask people to not vote for him if they desire to do so, amid a raging language row.
His reaction came after the student organization demanded the use of Assamese language as the medium of instruction in government-aided schools in the state. ABVP vehemently opposed the state government’s decision to introduce the English language as the medium of instruction from Classes 3 to 10 in government schools.
The Assam unit of ABVP had urged the government to reconsider its decision, however, it backfired as Assam minister Jayanta Malla Baruah made loose comments and compared the student organization with thieves and dacoits.
Interestingly, the student organisation had started its mass signature campaign in Nalbari, from where Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah was elected to the Assam assembly.