By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, Jan 1: Commul, divisive and extremist forces will be at play in the run-up to the assembly elections this year, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi cautioned today, highlighting the importance of religious harmony for development.
Addressing his customary press conference on New Year Day at his official residence today, Gogoi said the new year would be an important one for the State as the Assembly polls are due and various "negative forces" would be at work to hamper the State's interests.
"As election approaches, there is a possibility of commul, divisive and even extremist forces rearing their heads. We have to ensure defeat of such negative forces," he said.
The Chief Minister revealed his plans to set up a common prayer hall, encompassing places of worships of all major religions, to promote religious harmony.
"If division happens, conflicts rise and development stops. Religious harmony is important for development," he said.
As the Congress would be seeking a fourth straight term in the State this year, the three-time CM admitted that anti-incumbency would be a "factor" for the party.
He, however, sounded confident of the Congress retaining power and said, "Congress has to fight to win the fourth term. We had to fight even when we came to power during the last three elections and no fight or election is ever easy."
Gogoi claimed that the BJP "wave" is on the wane, citing the party's losses at hustings in Bihar, Delhi and Gujarat panchayat elections.
He also announced a slew of schemes and welfare programmes, targeting a cross section of population, including women and tea tribes.
He said the State government will provide rice at Rs 2 per kg instead of Rs 3 per kg under tiol Food Security Act. Three new schemes for tea garden workers would provide fincial assistance for construction of dwelling houses for homeless workers, clean drinking water and public bus facility for garden workers.
An all-women market will be set up for the benefit of women entrepreneurs for both individual and SHGs with all modern facilities. Creches will be set up at the secretariat and at every district and subdivisiol headquarters for the benefit of employees having children.
Fifteen new civil subdivisions will be formed by February, while the number of revenue circles and revenue lots will also be increased.