Congress president Sonia Gandhi on Thursday accused the Narendra Modi government of being "arrogant" for not taking the chief ministers of northeastern states into confidence before signing the Naga peace accord and also of insulting the people.
Congress leaders Sonia and Rahul Gandhi, who have been protesting against the suspension of 25 Congress MPs from Lok Sabha, also charged that the voices of the three states of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh are being "suppressed".
Talking to reporters in Parliament complex, the Congress president said when she called her party's chief ministers in the three states, who are directly affected by the Naga accord, she found that they were "totally blank" on the issue.
"Nobody has even bothered to brief them, perhaps not in detail, but in a wide sense. After all, our chief ministers are directly affected, be it Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh or Assam. So, what do I take from this? From this I take that this government is arrogant," she said.
"This government keeps on saying that everybody has to be taken along and that they will hold consultations with all, will take the views of all chief ministers. Then what happened? Their arrogance is now even more clear than before. And it is an insult not only to the chief ministers, but to the people of these states and to the federal structure of our country."
Rahul noted that what the Congress president said was perhaps the most important issue.
"Our voice is being suppressed in Parliament. The Congress president has said that the voice of three states - Manipur Assam and Arunachal - is being suppressed. It is an insult to the people of these three states that their CMs have not been advised. It's an insult to every single citizen in these three states and it's an insult to the people of India the way this government does work," said Rahul.
The government had on Monday signed an accord with Nationalist Socialist Council of Nagaland (IM) faction, an armed rebel group active in the northeastern region, which Prime Minister Narendra Modi had described as a "historic" step to usher in peace in the state.
The Naga peace accord, ending a six-decade long insurgency, was signed by the government and leaders of the NSCN (IM) in the presence Modi. Besides Modi and home minister Rajnath Singh, many top government functionaries and NSCN (I-M) leaders attended the ceremony, but the chief ministers were not present.
Congress chief ministers like Tarun Gogoi of Assam and Nabam Tuki of Arunachal Pradesh had later welcomed the accord.
The announcement came as a surprise, but immediately after the signing Modi called up opposition leaders including Sonia and former PM Manmohan Singh and briefed them about the accord.
National security adviser Ajit Doval and government interlocutor RN Ravi are believed to have worked overtime in the last few months to reach the accord. The signing of the pact was the culmination of over 80 rounds of negotiations, with first breakthrough in 1997 when leaders of the NSCN (IM), then the most lethal insurgent group, agreed to a ceasefire.