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regular-article-logo Monday, 20 May 2024

Congress cries northeast campaign hurdle, airs concern over axe on region's special laws

Briefing reporters in the capital after returning from the Northeast, Congress communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh said the issue in the region was the preservation of the special provisions enshrined in Article 371 of the Constitution

Anita Joshua New Delhi Published 16.04.24, 06:52 AM
Jairam Ramesh.

Jairam Ramesh. File picture

The Congress on Monday alleged efforts across the Northeast to prevent it from campaigning in the face of a "silent undercurrent" of support for the party over fears that the Constitution would be amended to take away the special laws for the region.

Briefing reporters in the capital after returning from the Northeast, Congress communications in-charge Jairam Ramesh said the issue in the region was the preservation of the special provisions enshrined in Article 371 of the Constitution — 371-A for Nagaland, 371-B for Assam, 371-C for Manipur, 371-F for Sikkim, 371-G for Mizoram and 371-H for Arunachal Pradesh.

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Some of these special provisions pertain to customary laws of the respective states, which Parliament cannot touch without the concurrence of the Assembly. "There is fear that a government that can bulldoze the abolition of 370 can very well bulldoze the abolition of Article 371 and its special provisions,’’ Ramesh said.

"The most important issue in the Northeast is the preservation of the diversity — religious diversity, linguistic diversity, food diversity," Ramesh said.

Modi’s target of securing 370 seats for the BJP and 400-plus for the NDA has triggered concern among minorities and socially disadvantaged sections of society that the ruling party has plans to change the Constitution in its third shot at power at the Centre.

BJP leaders have added fuel to the fire, the latest being the party’s Meerut candidate, actor Arun Govil, who said "change is a sign of progress’’ when asked about the party’s purported plans to amend the Constitution.

Citing Govil’s remarks, AAP MP Sanjay Singh raised an alarm on X. Drawing the attention of Dalits, backward classes and the oppressed, he posted in Hindi: "It is now clear that the BJP will destroy the Constitution."

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