BJP president Amit Shah with chief ministers Sarbananda Sonowal of Assam, Neiphiu Rio of Nagaland and N Biren Singh of Manipur at the 3rd conclave of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) meeting in Guwahati on May 20.(PTI Photo)
BJP president Amit Shah with chief ministers Sarbananda Sonowal of Assam, Neiphiu Rio of Nagaland and N Biren Singh of Manipur at the 3rd conclave of North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) meeting in Guwahati on May 20.(PTI Photo)

Northeast will be ‘Congress-mukt’ after Mizoram polls, says Amit Shah

BJP president Amit Shah was addressing the third conclave of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led political platform, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
Hindustan Times, Guwahati | By Sadiq Naqvi
UPDATED ON MAY 20, 2018 08:22 PM IST

Guwahati: A day after the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) lost out to the Congress-led alliance in Karnataka, party president Amit Shah slammed the grand old party’s “briefcase” politics and claimed his party had brought development to the Northeast.

“Earlier Northeast was lampooned for being corrupt. Congress governments were neck deep in corruption. Since BJP government came to power in Northeast states, from briefcase politics, it is now marching ahead on development politics,” he said.

Shah listed how the Narendra Modi government at the Centre has worked for the Northeast. “Modi’s mantra of sabka saath sabka vikas has ensured that Northeast has no place for secessionist powers,” he said.

Shah also spoke about how Mizoram will be Congress-mukt soon and how the Congress leaders have amassed huge properties.

His comments came at the conclave of the BJP-led North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) in Guwahati which had six chief ministers, MPs, MLAs and representatives of regional parties, NDPP, NPP, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT), Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF), Ganashakti Party and others.

The umbrella alliance aims to win 21 out of 25 seats in the next Lok Sabha polls.

However, the NEDA has been affected by the strained relationships between BJP and the Naga People’s Front (NPF) in Nagalanad and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) in Assam.

While the former has distanced itself from the alliance after BJP formed the government with its new ally the National Democratic Progressive Party led by Neiphiu Rio, the AGP has threatened to withdraw support in Assam if the Centre continues to push the Citizenship (Amendment) bill.

However, during his address, Shah steered clear of these points of disagreement.

“We have marched ahead even from the objective we set when we formed NEDA in 2016,” he said.

In the last meeting in Delhi, one of the six resolutions adopted by this regional alliance said “Congress-Mukt Northeast”.

Shah then launched an attack on the Congress. “Congress always saw the Northeast merely as a resource to cobble up a majority. But BJP, whether it was Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government or Narendra Modi’s government, they have acknowledged Northeast’s right. The rights which other states have on the country’s resources, Northeast should have more. This is what the BJP has done,” shah said.

“With Narendra Modi’s mantra, within a decade or two, the Northeast is going to be the biggest contributor to national growth,” he said as he went on to narrate how the BJP government “has been successful in securing the borders, be it infiltration from Bangladesh, weapons smuggling or encounters with militant groups in Myanmar”.

During the conclave, AGP chief Atul Bora was quick to draw Shah’s attention to the situation in Assam after protests over the Citizenship (Amendment) bill.

“It is a danger to the identity of the local people. It will change the demography of Assam. And there cannot be any division on the basis of religion,” Bora said in his address against the Bill which seeks to grant citizenship to persecuted minorities from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.

Nagaland’s chief minister Neiphiu Rio, Meghlaya’s Conrad Sangma, Tripura’s Biplab Deb, Assam’s Sarbananda Sonowal, Manipur’s N Biren Singh and Arunachal Pradesh’s Pema Khandu attended the conclave.

Sikkim chief minister Pawan Chamling could not attend the conclave.

In an informal interaction with the leaders, issues of governance and how to make the implementation of schemes better came up. A source said nothing specific was discussed about the 2019 polls except how everyone needs to work hard.

Interestingly, according to this source, the Assam chief minister, Sarbananda Sonowal or the NEDA convener, Himanta Biswa Sarma did not bring up the burning issue of Citizenship (Amendment) bill which has led to widespread protests in the state.

The NEDA conclave venue saw protests by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a farmers’ body opposing the bill.

KMSS leaders and supporters, who had appealed to the people to hoist black flags on houses and buildings, public places and vehicles, also protested near the Srimanta Sankardeva Kalakshetra where the conclave took place.

Police arrested KMSS leader Akhil Gogoi but released him later.

(With input from agencies)

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