Assam’s Himanta Sarma’s Controversial Remark Amid Bangladesh PM’s Visit

The Assam CM was responding to questions on the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’

New Delhi:

Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has made a controversial statement about “integrating Bangladesh” at a time when the neighbouring country’s Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina is on a diplomatic visit to India.

Mr Sarma was responding to the media’s questions on the Congress’ ‘Bharat Jodo Yatra’ as part of which Rahul Gandhi and other Congress leaders will travel across 3,500 km, from Kashmir to Kanyakumari. The march is being seen as a desperate attempt by the Congress, hit by several high-profile exits, to rally support ahead of the 2024 general election.

“India is united. From Kashmir to Kanyakumari, Silchar to Saurashtra, we are one. Congress partitioned the country into India and Pakistan. Then Bangladesh was created. If Rahul Gandhi feels apologetic that my maternal grandfather [Jawaharlal Nehru] made mistakes, if he regrets it, then no point of ‘Bharat Jodo’ in Indian territory. Try to integrate Pakistan, Bangladesh and strive to create Akhand Bharat,” said Mr Sarma, a former Congress leader who joined the BJP in 2015, is seen saying in a video tweeted by news agency ANI.

‘Akhand Bharat’ is an idea pushed by the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh, the BJP’s ideological parent, under which an “undivided India” includes Pakistan, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Afghanistan, Tibet and Myanmar.

The Assam Chief Minister’s remark on “integrating Bangladesh with India” comes at a time when Sheikh Hasina is on a four-day visit to India. Prime Minister Narendra Modi yesterday held talks with the Bangladesh counterparts on ways to boost bilateral ties.

The two countries have signed seven Memorandum of Understanding (MoUs) to further strengthen relations.

“India is our friend. Whenever I come here, it is a pleasure for me, especially because we always recall the contribution India has made during our liberation war. We have a friendly relationship, we are cooperating with each other,” the Bangladesh Prime Minister said yesterday.

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