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Congress repeatedly deceived Assam, killed opportunities for locals

Author: Sandhya Jain
Publication: Niticentral.com
Date: February 8, 2014
URL: http://www.niticentral.com/2014/02/08/congress-repeatedly-deceived-assam-killed-opportunities-for-locals-188297.html

Escalating his attack on the Congress for the extreme poverty and backwardness of Assam despite being the ruling party at the Centre and in the State for so many years, Narendra Modi said the then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi’s failure to implement the Assam Accord and remove illegal infiltrators from Bangladesh was a major cause behind the sons of the soil failing to get their due share of employment and opportunity in the State.

Addressing a mammoth Maha Jagran Rally at Guwahati on Sunday afternoon, the BJP’s Prime Ministerial candidate said that poverty hurts and demoralises, and that illegal immigration has taken food from the mouths of native Assamese.

Under the Assam Accord, the registration of citizens with proper proofs of citizenship should have begun in the districts bordering Bangladesh, the identity of insiders and outsiders clearly established, and outsiders made to leave. But even the Gandhi family, though in power in Delhi, is not interested in fulfilling the promise of the Accord; “hum karke dikhayenge,” he promised. Modi lamented that the peaceful and joyous people of the State had been subjected to violence and strife, “Who had made this land bloody; shall we let the rain (fall) of blood continue; we have lost so many sons of this soil”.

The Prime Minister, he said, has been an MP from Assam for a gargantuan 23 years, yet people have got nothing in return, he said. An ordinary BJP worker, if given such an opportunity, would have delivered much more and the people have the right to ask what one party rule in the Centre and the State have yielded in return. Of all the eight States in the region, Assam is in the worst condition; it has the lowest per capital income and is more backward than tiny Nagaland. Tourism is well developed in Sikkim, he said, but why could it not be developed in Assam?

Industrial investment in the State is miniscule, despite the sheer abundance of natural resources and huge potential for industry and employment. The Centre repeatedly chants that it has brought MREGA to solve the problems of employment, but has anyone got jobs under this scheme. As the crowd shouted ‘no, no’, Narendra Modi said that in Assam, 675 persons out of 1000 are unemployed, putting the future in peril; 12 lakh persons asked for employment under MREGA but only 10,018 were given work. “This is making fun of the poor, insulting them,” he charged. As one who boiled the tea leaves of Assam to make a living in childhood, Modi said he understood the hardship of poverty. The only way out of this morass is to opt for the path of development, so that peace, unity and brotherhood (shanti, ekta, aur bhaichara) can prevail.

Addressing one of the most responsive crowds in recent times, Narendra Modi challenged the Prime Minister who constantly spoke of “inclusive growth” to explain the asymmetry in the development of States in western and eastern India, especially when the eastern States were so much richer in natural wealth. The reason, he mused, is poor leadership and policies, which the BJP would amend. Under Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, he reminded the audience — which responded with chants of “Atal ji zindabad,” — projects worth Rs 40,000 crore were given to the region and 10 per cent of all departmental funds reserved for the north east; a special Ministry was formed for the region, and had the NDA returned to power in 2004, many problems of the region would have been resolved.

Vajpayee, he mused, had the vision to see that river linking would be the long term solution to water scarcity in many regions, but the project languished under the UPA. When the Supreme Court chastised the regime and directed Manmohan Singh to speed it up, it took the Centre 15 months to set up a Committee to look into the issue. “Gati asi hai to mati kaise hogi,” he mocked, as the crowd roared with laughter. Gujarat, he said, is a water deficient State, yet they had taken the Narmada water right up to the Pakistan border; Assam is blessed by the mighty Brahmaputra and other rivers and yet Guwahati is having a water crisis. If the eight Northeastern States, the Ashtha Lakshmi, realise that the lotus (kamal) is the natural seat of the Goddess of wealth, then BJP will take the region to new heights, he promised.

Employment and growth opportunities are imperative to ensure that India’s demographic divided – over 65 per cent of the population is below the age of 35 years – does not turn into a demographic difficulty. Speaking to IT sector professionals on Saturday, Modi said he had asked them to think in terms of taking the IT jobs outsourced from abroad to the smaller towns and cities, as the metropolises were becoming saturated. All that was needed is broadband connectivity, fibre optics, satellites and electricity. The negativity that this cannot be done must be defeated, he exhorted, all that is needed is will and hard work. Forced out-migration for jobs must end, he said.

The Gujarat Chief Minister said that in order to boost tourism in his State, he had requested the Chief Ministers of the Northeastern States to send 200 English-speaking policewomen from each of their States on two-year deputations. Their presence would have triggered interest in their own States and the growth of tourism there with growth of hotels and other ancillary industries, but the visionless leadership did not respond. His offer is still open, he said, and added that he welcomed people from all States to come to Gujarat and avail of the opportunities there. Lamenting the pervasive culture of corruption in jobs in Assam, he said he had recruited 13,000 teachers by computerising their qualifications and put an end to any malfeasance in employment.

Law and order is another serious problem in Assam, Modi observed, with kidnappings, dacoity, murders, bomb blasts occurring frequently. Even the police, CRPF and BSF jawans are killed; if the security forces are so unsafe, how can the people be safe?

Charging the Congress with treating India as its ‘personal property’, Modi said it was giving away territory without asking the people. The country will be safe if we have good relations with neighbours, but who will be friends if they don’t respect us, he queried.

Saluting Gopinath Bordoloi for joining hands with Sardar Patel to save Assam from becoming a part of Pakistan, Narendra Modi said that this brave visionary was not honoured with the Bharat Ratna which he legitimately deserved until Atal Bihari Vajpayee become the Prime Minister and gave him his due. In Delhi, they do ‘puja of only one family,’ he charged, and such an establishment could not be expected to remember and honour Sardar Patel. Congressmen, he mocked, ask him why he is building a Statue of Unity for Sardar Patel, a Congress leader; they are not able to understand that India does not see Sardar as a party person but as a great national leader. Unfortunately for the Congress, the popular response to the proposal was so formidable that after 60 years of total neglect, the party was forced to recognise the sterling contributions made by Sardar Patel to national unity, ‘this is our success,’ and was forced to sing his praises.
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