The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Apang awaits Advani gift

Itanagar, Nov. 13: Deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani will arrive in the Arunachal Pradesh capital tomorrow on a two-day visit that is seen as a thanksgiving mission to the only northeastern state where the BJP leads the government.

The BJP did not have a single member in the Assembly until 43 legislators of a breakaway group of the Congress merged with it less than a month after chief minister Gegong Apang unseated his predecessor Mukut Mithi in a political coup.

Union minister for development of the Northeast C.P. Thakur and BJP president M. Venkaiah Naidu will accompany Advani. A source said the troika’s primary objective was to “repay” Apang and his colleagues in the ruling United Democratic Front (UDF) for catapulting the BJP to power.

The deputy Prime Minister will lay the foundation stone of a 250-bed referral hospital at Pachin Village, Naharlagun, after arriving here and open the Energy Awareness Park in Itanagar later in the day.

However, what the Apang government is looking forward to the most is a financial package on the lines of the one for Nagaland. Advani is expected to make the much-awaited announcement during a civic reception on Saturday. He will visit the Ramkrishna Mission Hospital here before the function.

The deputy Prime Minister’s other engagements include meetings with Governor V.C. Pandey and the council of ministers.

The Congress, which is still smarting from the unceremonious exit of the Mithi ministry, will submit a nine-point memorandum to Advani. A Congress leader said the essence of the party’s memorandum was that the National Democratic Alliance government at the Centre should be serious about helping the state undertake development projects, irrespective of who is in power.

“Our memorandum makes a reference to the shelved Shukla Commission recommendations. We regret the inaction of the Union government in implementing the commission’s guidelines, which could have changed the destiny of the Northeast, including Arunachal Pradesh.”

The energy park that Advani will inaugurate has been developed by the Arunachal Pradesh Energy Development Agency with help from the Union ministry of non-conventional energy sources and the West Bengal Renewable Energy Development Agency. It has been designed to educate the people about the importance and use of renewable energy technology.

The park has a friendship pavilion, a solar canteen, a solar car, remote-controlled toy boats and a solar cottage where visitors, on payment of a small fee, can enjoy programmes on a television operating on solar power.

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