The All Assam Students Union (AASU) has long been a major stakeholder in the struggle against illegal influx from Bangladesh, which threatens the existence of all indigenous people in the State. While avowedly non-political, the AASU has been espousing causes like principled politics, safeguards for sons of the soil, implementation of Assam Accord, balanced development and quality education. AASU president Dipanka Kumar th spoke on some of these issues in an interview to The Sentinel in Jorhat.
Q. How do you view the recent defections of politicians in the State?
th: Every politician should stand firm on principles when it comes to contesting elections and must be selective in choosing his political party. They should find lasting solutions to different problems faced by the State. It is not wise for politicians to compromise on principles and defect to other parties in the event of non-fulfillment of persol aspirations. Politics should be based purely on principles.
At all cost, the objective of every politician should be to prevent any Bangladeshi from becoming the Chief Minister of the State.
The entire Assamese community should participate in the poll process and ensure that a son of the soil becomes the Chief Minister. Illegal migrants have been voting in Assam for the last many decades and this time too they will vote, and that is why my appeal to the people to come out in large numbers to thwart the Bangladeshi-backed elements from coming to power. We want every foreigner who entered the State after 25 March, 1971 to leave our land.
Q. To resolve the key problems of the State, what kind of a party should the people vote for?
th: The main issue for the State is the problem of illegal migration from Bangladesh which can be resolved only through proper implementation of the Assam Accord. Other major issues are border issues and protection of Majuli. In case big dams, I would recommend that without cumulative studies, no construction should be allowed in the lower Subansiri river and in other rivers where similar projects are going on. The present educatiol system should be revamped, thus facilitating new institutes in the State in which students can pursue higher studies. Records show that only a few hundred students study in medical and engineering colleges in Assam, whereas outside Assam, several thousands of students get admission every year. Assam has every scope to become a hub of education in the entire Northeast by creation of such institutes. And that is why we need a government which can bring such visible changes and persuade the Central government in allocating more and more funds towards creation of more educatiol institutions.
Q. In the last 15 years, how do you rate the pace of development in Assam?
th: More than 100 rhinos have been killed in the last 15 years. It has hurt the sentiments of the Assamese people. It is a sad state of affairs that the Assam government has so far failed to protect the rhinos. The Chief Minister has also failed to implement Assam Accord. He often claims there is not a single Bangladeshi in Assam. He did not take steps towards industrial development of the State nor did he improve the power scerio. There have been no measures for the uplift of the student community, with anomalies reported in board exams conducted by the SEBA every year. Rampant corruption prevails in government departments with corrupt officials pocketing lakhs from candidates to give a job. Only in the first five years was this government free from corruption. And hence the people are desirous of a change in government. But the new government should be purely an indigenous one which can stand behind and with the people in times of despair and one which can voice its stand to find solution — and not one formed with the support of Bangladeshi backed elements.
Q. According to you, are there any efficient candidate contesting this election?
th: There is no dearth of efficient candidates in various constituencies. Our concern is that the candidates should be sound in terms of education, wisdom, magement skills and with vision and farsightedness, so as to be able to run a government. They should have the capability to take people along from all walks of life in attaining sustaible development and achieving economic self-sufficiency. In short, we want a leader who can work for the indigenous people of Assam with an open mind.