The Telegraph
Since 1st March, 1999
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Gogoi blame game on influx

Silchar, May 8: In less than a month after denying the presence of Bangladeshi migrants in the state at a poll rally in neighbouring Hailakandi, Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi today went hammer and tongs at Delhi for the continuing influx.

Addressing a packed press conference here, Gogoi said influx from Bangladesh “is still continuing in a sporadic manner” and put the blame for such “unhindered influx” on the BJP-led NDA government.

He said his government had pressed Delhi time and again to enforce vigil on the border, but claimed that the NDA government had not paid any heed.

The chief minister said the state government has submitted a package of proposals for ensuring strong and foolproof border vigil in Assam. This includes setting up of outposts of the BSF every four km instead of eight km as at present, erection of durable border fences and laying of border roads and deployment of more BSF troops along the borders for effective patrolling.

He expressed regret that barring the scheme for erecting border fences, the Centre’s attitude towards the other proposals was still “very lukewarm”.

Gogoi denied that he had ever declared that there was virtually no Bangladeshi infiltrator in Assam. He claimed that he had been misquoted in this regard when he addressed an election rally last month at Hailakandi in south Assam.

His comment had sparked quite a furore, forcing him to issue a clarification in Jorhat.

The chief minister disclosed that eight months ago he had contested the claims of the BJP and Delhi regarding the presence of a large number of Bangladeshis in Assam in a conversation with deputy Prime Minister L.K. Advani in New Delhi.

He said he had pointed out to Advani the low growth of population in Assam as recorded in the last two censuses in contrast to the high rate of the decadal growth of population in the country. He claimed Advani did not have any answer to his arguments.

Referring to the ongoing Lok Sabha polls, Gogoi claimed that according to the official as well as non-official feedback he had received on polling trends in Assam, the Congress could well end up with “10-plus seats out of the total of 14”.

He said Dispur would soon seek another tranche of soft loans at low interest rates from the Asian Development Bank for improving the road infrastructure in some towns of the state.

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