BJP national president Amit Shah on May 20 said that the Northeast will be ‘Congress-mukt’ (Congress free) after the Mizoram election, scheduled for the year-end.
“In the Northeast, we first won elections in Assam, then Manipur followed by Tripura, where the people have given us a thumping mandate,” he said in Guwahati, addressing the third conclave of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led political platform, North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA).
“In Nagaland and Meghalaya, constituents of NEDA are in power with support from the BJP,” he said, adding that Mizoram will also become ‘Congress mukt’ after the polls.
“After Mizoram, which is going to polls end of this year, all the eight chief ministers of Northeast will be sitting here together.”
He said NEDA, which was formed in 2016 after the BJP’s landslide victory in Assam, is not merely a political platform but a geo-political one which aims to develop the Northeast region.
“Earlier, the Northeast states were known for corruption. Now due to the presence of NEDA governments, the states have gone beyond ‘briefcase politics’ and are achieving new milestones in terms of development,” he said.
Slamming the Congress regime in the region, Shah said all the Congress chief ministers have bungalows in cities like Delhi, Mumbai, Bengaluru and others.
“So where does the money come from? It is taken away from developmental funds meant for the poor. The BJP government has ensured that every paisa sanctioned by the Centre reaches the people,” he said.
Representatives of seven Northeast states including chief ministers, deputy chief ministers, MLAs, MPs and other members of the NEDA constituents participated in the conclave.
Prominent among those present were chief ministers Sarbananda Sonowal (Assam), Conrad Sangma (Meghalaya), Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh), N Biren Singh (Manipur), Neiphiu Rio (Nagaland), Biplab Kumar Deb (Tripura) and others. Sikkim chief minister Pawan Kumar Chamling could not attend the meet.
Shah’s visit came amid protests by the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), a farmers’ body, opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016.
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.
Shah said that NEDA will soon have a regional office in Guwahati and that efforts are also on to set up its youth and women’s wing. “The youths of the Northeast states are looking at NEDA with hope,” he said.