Ahead of Assam polls, PM Modi distributes land allotment certificates
Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday targeted previous state governments in Assam as he distributed land allotment certificates to 106,000 landless indigenous families.
“When the Sarbananda Sonowal government took over the reins in Assam, more than 600,000 indigenous families had no legal rights over their land. In the last few years, more than 200,000 such families have been allotted ownership certificates. With more than 100,000 families added today, the government has shown its commitment to protecting the rights of the indigenous people,” Modi said.
During his first visit to the poll-bound state, the PM said allotment of these certificates would ensure that the benefits of government schemes reached these families. “The land ownership certificates (pattas) will guarantee their ‘swabhiman’ (pride), swadheenta (freedom) and suraksha (protection),” the prime minister said.
In its 2016 election manifesto, the BJP, which came to power in Assam with the slogan of protecting ‘jaati’, ‘maati’ and ‘bheti’ (community, land and hearth), had promised to give land rights to the state’s indigenous families.
Modi was accompanied by Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal. “The steps taken by our government in the past four and half years have ensured protection of rights of the state’s indigenous people and ensured peace and development,” Sonowal said.
The Prime Minister’s visit to the state came a day after the All Assam Students Union (AASU) and several other organizations held torch rallies in the state against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). AASU, which spearheaded the anti-CAA stir in the state in 2019, has also launched a three-day protest against the legislation beginning Friday.
AASU advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya said, “The prime minister today kept mum on the key issues...We want to make it clear to both the central and state governments that there can be no bargaining on the CAA with the land patta issue which is a constitutional right of the indigenous people.”
Congress leader Debabrata Saikia said, “We are disappointed with the PM’s speech. He made so many promises to the people of Assam in 2014, 2016 and in 2019, but the BJP-led governments in Centre and Assam have failed to keep them. Modi should have told the people why the Assam Accord is yet to be implemented and what happened to his promise of sending back all illegal immigrants from Assam.”
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- State Congress president Ripun Bora said the party identified the five guarantees after interactions with voters during the ‘Asom Basaon Ahok’ (Come, Let’s Save Assam) tour across the state.
- The Congress leader said Prime Minister Narendra Modi chose to remain in Delhi and never visited Assam every time the northeastern state faced a crisis.
- Relations between BJP and BPF soured in early 2020 when BTC, which was under the latter’s rule was placed under Governor’s rule at the end of the council’s five-year term as election couldn’t be held due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the prevailing restrictions.