The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gogoi backs jobs plea

New Delhi, Sept. 20: Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today said his government stood for “preferential recruitment” of local youths in jobs in various sectors, but warned against violent demonstrations on the issue.

The chief minister today left the All-India Institute of Medical Sciences, where he was under treatment for “gastritis”. He will put up at the Assam Bhawan here for a couple of weeks before resuming office. He was earlier admitted in AIIMS in August for prolapse of the lumbar disc.

Talking to The Telegraph, Gogoi said: “Preferential treatment to local candidates in recruitment doesn’t mean pursuing an anti-national policy. Even the Central government has supported this. This is all the more important considering the plethora of problems our state faces.”

The issue of recruitment of local youth had gained prominence owing to an agitation by the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chatra Parishad that culminated in violent demonstrations inside the Doordarshan Kendra in the state capital.

Gogoi said violence and lawlessness could not be the solutions to any problem. “There is always a peaceful way for demonstration and voicing grievances. We don’t support anything that is sought to be achieved through force and hooliganism,” Gogoi said.

The chief minister’s stay in Delhi, which began on August 18, coincided with several important developments in the state capital, including alleged reports of a widening rift between the PCC and the government.

Rumours about the need to appoint a deputy chief minister on account of his failing health also did the rounds. The Congress high command had to step in on a couple of occasions to clear the confusing signals emanating from different power centres within the Assam Congress.

Heaving a sigh of relief, Gogoi said: “It’s a pleasure now that I have shifted to a different environment where I’ll be a bit more relaxed in carrying on with official work.”

Official work apart, Gogoi’s daily schedule at the Bhavan would revolve around meeting guests, two daily sessions of physiotherapy and an evening walk. Press secretary Bichitra Chowdhury said Gogoi had recovered from his gastric ailment, but physiotherapy would continue for a few more months.

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