'Some power-hungry elected representatives opposed my initiative. The AIUDF is opposed to 1951 as base year because of vested interests,' says Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi
By Our Staff Reporter
Guwahati, April 29: Pushed to the wall by some of his own partymen, Speaker Prab Kumar Gogoi, who had taken an initiative to frame a definition of Assamese, today insisted that the “party is not higher than the community” and that interest of the community has always been at the forefront of his priorities.
“The community has been my primary concern. I don’t believe in politics based on religion,” Gogoi, who was interacting with jourlists as Guest of the Month at Guwahati Press Club, said.
The Speaker, a Congress legislator from Sivasagar, said he took an initiative to frame the definition of Assamese for the “greater interest” of the community. “While doing so, I came across organizations reluctant to identify themselves as Assamese. I realized that their reservations emated from old wounds,” he stated, without ming the organizations.
The Speaker was emphatic in stating that the Congress as a party did not oppose his initiative. “It was some power-hungry elected representatives who were opposed it. The AIUDF is opposed to 1951 as base year because of vested interests,” he said.
Given the present rate of influx from across the border, Gogoi warned, the Assamese would soon be reduced to a minority in their own land.
“Due to the fast changing demography, the indigenous and indigenous Assamese need to be protected and given certain safeguards. It is to facilitate implementation of the AASU’s demand stated under Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, that I tried to frame a definition of Assamese. Anyway, I am hopeful that this clause, including that of seat reservation, would be implemented,” he maintained.
While not being too harsh on Prime Minister rendra Modi, Gogoi pointed out that before the elections Modi had assured Assam will not have to bear the burden of illegal migrants. “The Prime Minister should now show his goodwill and intent through actions,” Gogoi commented.
Acknowledging that the condition of the fencing along the Indo-Bangladesh border was “poor”, the Speaker expressed urgency to complete the project at the earliest.
“If needed both sides – India and Bangladesh – should come to a compromise and resolve the vexed issues regarding border fencing through a give and take policy,” Gogoi said, without directly supporting the land swap deal.