regular-article-logo Monday, 05 June 2023

Amit Shah steers clear of CAA in Assam

The Union home minsiter addressed a massive rally at Kokrajhar to mark the first anniversary of the 'historic' Bodoland Territorial Region accord

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 25.01.21, 12:20 AM
Union home minister Amit Shah with chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal (left) and other BJP leaders at the  Nalbari rally on Sunday

Union home minister Amit Shah with chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal (left) and other BJP leaders at the Nalbari rally on Sunday Telegraph picture

Union home minister Amit Shah on Sunday exhorted the people of Assam to give the BJP a second straight term to free the state from corruption, terrorism, pollution and floods but once again steered clear of contentious issues such as the Citizenship Amendment Act or the implementation of the Assam Accord.

Shah first addressed a massive rally at Kokrajhar to mark the first anniversary of the “historic” Bodoland Territorial Region (BTR) accord, highlighting the peace and development that have been ensured after the signing of the pact and the peaceful conduct of the Bodoland Territorial Council polls.


Assam goes to polls in April-May and the BJP has set a target of winning 100-plus seats with its allies. Assam has a 126-member Assembly.

Shah promised that the BJP-led government will implement all clauses in the new Bodo accord, besides protecting the rights, culture and language of the Bodo community and unity among Bodos and non-Bodos in the BTR, something the Opposition Congress could not do despite signing several agreements.

He inaugurated several development projects, including those in the education and road sectors.

The home minister asserted: “The Union government is standing like a rock behind the government of Assam, you just keep marching forward. Only under the leadership of (Narendra) Modi can Assam be rid of corruption, infiltration, terrorism and pollution.”

Later in Nalbari, where he addressed a Vijay Sankalp rally, Shah went all out against the Opposition Congress and AIUDF while flagging the all-round development “taking” place in the state under the BJP-led government.

Though he did not refer to the CAA or the implementation of Clause 6 or according Scheduled Tribe status to six communities, Shah asserted it was only the BJP that could save Assam from influx and ensure prosperity of all communities while seeking a second term with majority support.

Shah asked: “Please tell me, can the Congress and (AIUDF parliamentarian) Badruddin Ajmal stop infiltrators? They will allow infiltrators to come in because they are their vote bank. Only the Narendra Modi-led BJP government can free Assam from infiltrators.”

The Congress accuses the BJP of being communal but it is an ally of the Muslim League in Kerala and the AIUDF in Assam, Shah pointed out.

“Where is the Congress taking Assam? I want to ask those who were in power for years as to what they did for Assam’s culture or its development?” He said only the BJP government could solve the problem of annual floods.

While praising Modi for his steps to end insurgency in the Northeast and abolishing Article 370 provisions in Jammu and Kashmir, Shah said efforts had been made to meet the demands of the tea community, including their health, education and wage concerns.

The tea adivasi community is among the six seeking ST tag for decades.

The All Assam students’ Union on Sunday staged “black day” protests across the state demanding the repeal of the CAA, implementation of Clause 6 that provides for political and constitutional safeguards to the Assamese people, deportation of illegal Bangladeshis and scrapping of the draft Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) 2020 notification.

The CAA makes it easier for non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan to secure Indian citizenship, something those opposed to the CAA see as a threat to Assam’s culture and language. AASU members burnt copies of the CAA as part of their protest.

AASU has been staging protests since January 22 against the visits of Modi and Shah, who had last come to the state on December 26.

The Opposition Congress, Raijor Dal and Assam Jatiya Parishad and several leading organisations such as AASU and the KMSS have been flagging the unfulfilled promises of the BJP leaders between 2014 and 2016 and a seeking clarity on these issues during their visit to the poll-bound state.

The Congress too attacked the BJP by countering the claims of Prime Minister Modi at his rally to distribute land pattas to the landless at Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar on Saturday.

Senior state Congress leader and sitting MP Pradyut Bordoloi pointed to Modi’s assertion of safeguarding Assamese language and culture by giving awards to renowned people.

“Awards were an eyewash to hide the BJP’s agenda of destroying Assamese identity through the CAA, Hindutva politics, etc. The blatant violation of the Assam Accord speaks volumes of the BJP’s attitude towards Assamese language and culture. The BJP tried to rename schools and colleges in Assam after RSS leaders like Deen Dayal Upadhyay and not Assamese freedom fighters.”

On Modi’s claim that Assam and the rest of the Northeast have been getting due attention from the central government and have made unprecedented progress in the last six years, Bordoloi said the Northeast Industrial Policy introduced by the UPA was scrapped by the current government and so was special status for the region.

“Grants-in-aid to Assam since 2016 has been decreasing even with a BJP government both at the Centre and in the state. In 2018-19, it decreased by Rs 425 crores and declined another 3 per cent in 2019-20.”

Modi said the BJP ensured peace and stability in Assam by curbing insurgency but it is evident from the growth chart of Assam from 2000-2016 that the Congress had effectively curbed insurgency and Ulfa violence in the state.

“In 2011, Ulfa declared a unilateral ceasefire. Stability and development in the state was reflected by the GDP growth which increased from 1.75 per cent in 2001to 6.68 per cent in 2013-14,” Bordoloi said.

The BJP came to power for the first time in 2016, ending the 15-year-rule of the Congress.

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