Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, who campaigned for the Congress in Assam on Saturday, said the central government was open to talks with all militant groups and the discussions with the United Liberation Front of Asom (Ulfa) had been a good beginning.
"The Ulfa peace talks are a good beginning. Our doors for peace talks with all militant groups are open. We want the militants to shun violence and come for talks," the Prime Minister said at an election rally in Dhakuwakhana in eastern Assam, about 500 km from Guwahati.
Singh, campaigning for state assembly polls beginning Monday, urged voters in Assam not to be misled by the false promises of the opposition and give the Congress a third term to rule the state.
"My appeal to the people of Assam is to give the Congress yet another chance to carry forward the development work undertaken by the government in the past 10 years and not be misled by the propaganda of the AGP (Asom Gana Parishad) and the BJP (Bharatiya Janata Party)," he said.
Singh was addressing his first election rally in Assam -- and in these assembly polls that will also be held in four other states. He later left for New Delhi.
"When the Congress government took office in 2001, the state's economic status was in shambles. We had to really work hard to bring back Assam to a stage where we can proudly claim it is on the right track now," he said.
"Development work in Assam was literally not moving at all during the AGP regime. The law and order situation was very bad."
Lauding the last 10 years of the government under chief minister Tarun Gogoi, Manmohan Singh said the people of Assam should vote for development and stability.
"We are a party of the aam aadmi (common man), and Tarun Gogoi's government was able to accelerate the pace of development by leaps and bounds, besides peace dawning in Assam."