Bhupen peace pegged on Vajpayee talks

Updated on Apr 12, 2004 07:58 PM IST

Bhupen Hazarika has made what can be called one of the biggest electoral promises in recent years. He has vowed to solve insurgency problem in the state if elected from Guwahati.

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PTI | By, Guwahati

Bhupen Hazarika has made what can be called one of the biggest electoral promises to the people of Assam in recent years. The Assamese cultural icon has vowed to solve the problem of insurgency in the state if elected from Guwahati.

Under cloud for allegedly using the services of “demonised”  former rebels, Hazarika has promised to mediate and seek the Prime Minister’s personal intervention to resolve the decades-old militancy in the state. “I shall personally request the PM for a permanent solution to the Ulfa issue,” Hazarika said. If Vajpayee could offer an olive branch to the NSCN(I-M), he may also negotiate with the Ulfa, the singer said.

In the past, peace initiatives have never been successful. The stumbling block is believed to be the outfit’s three pre-conditions for talks — one of which is no compromise on the issue of sovereignty for Assam.

“People want peace, but the Congress doesn’t seem interested in providing that,” Hazarika said. He pointed out that the Ulfa was a product of Congress misrule and defended his alleged links with ex-rebels, saying they were not “demons” as a section of the media has made them out to be.

Meanwhile, Hazarika’s companion Kalpana Lajmi has returned to Mumbai following instructions from the BJP high command to “leave their star candidate alone”.

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    Rahul Karmakar was part of Hindustan Times’ nationwide network of correspondents that brings news, analysis and information to its readers. He no longer works with the Hindustan Times.

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