Glory for Sonia on Arunachal?s day - Apang dedicates speech at statehood anniversary to Nehru-Gandhi family
Itanagar, Feb. 20: The occasion was Arunachal Pradesh?s 19th Statehood Day, but the gifts and eulogies were reserved for somebody else.
Eager to please chief guest Sonia Gandhi, chief minister Gegong Apang today turned his Statehood Day speech into a sycophantic description of the role of the Nehru-Gandhi family in the state?s development. The gifts followed ? from a silver smoking pipe to a huge mithun (an indigenous breed of bison) ? and the Congress president beamed in appreciation.
?I welcome you not only as chairperson of the National Advisory Council or president of the Indian National Congress, but also as the distinguished legatee of the Nehru-Gandhi family,? Apang said.
He went on to recollect the contributions of the family to which ?the history of Arunachal Pradesh is closely linked?.
Apang later renamed the Arunachal University after former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi ?in deference? to the wishes of the people. ?This is our way of paying tribute to the great leader who accorded statehood to this territory,? he said.
Sonia, too, reminded the gathering about the respect the Nehru-Gandhi family had for the unique tribal cultures and traditions of Arunachal Pradesh. ?The state government?s decision to rename Arunachal University as Rajiv Gandhi University has deeply touched me. It reminds me of those days in 1986, when I visited the nooks and crannies of the state with Rajivji and learned about the distinct and diverse cultures and traditions of this state.?
Dressed in Idu Mishimi attire, the Congress president expressed concern over the ?menace of violence? rearing its head in Arunachal Pradesh.
Apang earlier submitted a memorandum to Sonia, listing the state?s requirements. The Congress chief responded by saying the UPA government would not disappoint Arunachal Pradesh. ?Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is definitely looking into the demands of the state. I can only assure you that whatever promises we made in our election manifesto will be fulfiled.?
Activists of the All Arunachal Pradesh Students? Union were, however, not impressed and tried to stage a demonstration against the government at the venue. They were demanding relocation of Chakma refugees outside the state and steps to end the border dispute with Assam and protect Arunachal Pradesh?s ?territorial integrity?.
The state unit of the BJP, too, boycotted the Statehood Day celebrations in protest against the event being turned into a ?Congress function?.
Before leaving Itanagar, Sonia inaugurated the new building of the Arunachal Pradesh Polytechnic Institute and a kisan mela.