Conglomerate of BJP & nine regiol parties hold first conclave in Guwahati
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, July 13: North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), a conglomerate of nine North Eastern regiol political parties and the BJP, took formal shape on Wednesday in what its members claim as the first step towards a Congress-mukt Northeast.
Addressing the first conclave of the alliance, BJP tiol president Amit Shah urged the new platform to work to integrate the region with the rest of the country in a productive manner.
“The NEDA will be a platform which will bridge the gap between the region and the rest of the country. It is a small step for greater things to come. The NEDA will instill in the people awareness that a secure NE will ensure tiol security,” he added.
“In spite of having abundant tural and human resources, this region is the victim of decades of apathy, indifference and under-development. The structural problems that confront its ethnic and indigenous groups, like ubated immigration, demographic invasion etc have been overlooked or patronized for rrow political and electoral gains, jeopardizing the very unique fabric of the region. As such, it is only a Congress-mukt Bharat that can provide justice and honour to the people of NE India,” the alliance said in its Guwahati Declaration.
“In order to overcome these obstacles, an inclusive platform that represents the essence of the region has been conceptualized and developed,” it said.
Shah said NEDA will strive to bring the region at par with the rest of the country and work for its integration.
Shah also assured alliance members that the BJP will have the same status and power as other members, “nothing more or nothing less,” in the platform.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal said that the people of North East are facing threat to their identity and land due to growing infiltration from across the border and jihadi activities, and the region must stand united to defeat these challenges.
“NEDA will be the platform that will ensure unity among us and give us strength to face these challenges together,” he said.
Sikkim CM Pawan Kumar Chamling said the region has for long seen politics “in the me of peace and development; now the time is for actual delivery of these promises”.
He emphasized on the need to promote organic farming and tourism potential and derive maximum benefit out of Central government schemes in these sectors.
galand CM TR Zeilang said NEDA is a platform for its members to share their ideas and put their heads together for the cause of development of the region.
He maintained that such regiol forums in the past had failed to sustain as it did not have backing at the tiol level.
But with BJP being a founder-member of NEDA, the new platform is expected to survive and deliver, he added.
Aruchal Pradesh CM Kalikho Pul said it was imperative for NE states to work together to defeat the challenges facing the region, especially militancy that is being allegedly supported by neighouring countries. Former Mizoram CM Zoramthanga said NEDA is a need of the hour for collective efforts to tackle and solve the region’s problems.
UDP president and former CM of Meghalaya Dr Donkupar Roy said NEDA should rise from being a political power and strive to resolve the problems and challenges facing the region from outside as well as within.
BPF president Hagrama Mohilary demanded declaration of the State’s flood and erosion problem as a tiol problem. “The NRC update work has slowed down due to shortage of funds. The Central government should release adequate funds,” he said, adding that besides skill development, the government should also take measure for creation of job avenues.
Union Minister of State (Home) Kiren Rijiju said the Central government has given priority to the issue of border security, fencing as well as border trade in NE. “The Central government will soon release a booklet on the initiatives it has taken in NE,” Rijiju said.
BJP tiol president Amit Shah, its tiol leaders Ramlal and Ram Madhav, NEDA convener Dr Himanta Biswa Sharma, leaders of other members of NEDA, including Atul Bora of Asom Ga Parishad, Hagrama Mohilary of Bodoland People’s Front, Ronuj Pegu of Gashakti Party and Conrad Sangma of Meghalaya, were also present at the conclave.
NEDA convener and Assam minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said the forum will work for a ‘Congress free’ Northeast by 2019, adding that NEDA will ensure that all 25 Lok Sabha members from the region in 2019 are from non-Congress parties.
He said, “NEDA is a partnership for growth and governce. In the next one year, there should not be Congress government in any NE state. Prime Minister rendra Modi’s slogan of ‘sabka saath, sabka vikash’ should be endorsed across the region.”
He said the permanent secretariat of NEDA will be at Guwahati and a think tank would be formed to suggest NEDA how to function.