Echoing the “Congress-mukt (free) North East” slogan, BJP President Amit Shah on Tuesday expressed confidence that the party-led North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) will form governments in the remaining three of the eight states in the region.
Addressing the second NEDA conclave here, Shah said infiltration, vote-bank politics and political use of killer groups have derailed the northeast’s development.
“I think we are successfully progressing towards that direction. In five of the eight states, we have Chief Ministers who are members of the NEDA. I am confident that in the upcoming elections, in all the eight states NEDA will be successful in forming the government,” Shah said.
“I hope in the next annual conference all the eight Chief Ministers will be sitting here and NEDA represents all the eight states,” he added.
Earlier, Assam’s Health and Finance Minister Sharma said that NEDA is an alliance of parties which is concerned about development of the North East region and making it Congress-mukt. “We are working towards that,” he asserted.
The conclave was attended by Chief Ministers of Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh, Sikkim and Nagaland. Of the other three states, Tripura is governed by CPI-M, and Meghalaya and Mizoram by the Congress.
Shah said that nothing was done in the last 65 years for the development of the region.
“The region’s development suffered a lot because nothing was done to stop infiltration, to bring the militants to the mainstream and to stop smuggling,” Shah said.
“Despite potential it did not develop as much. There is potential in the scenic beauty of the region which can be utilised in tourism to generate employment. In 65 years, since the time of Jawaharlal Nehru to Manmohan Singh-ji whatever Congress governments have done for the region, we have done in three years many times more than them,” he said.
The BJP chief said the party has taken many initiatives in the past three years for the development of the region and stressed on the need to unite the region culturally.
“North East’s development is the government’s first priority. There has been change in our policy towards the region. I am happy to say that in the past three years under Narendra Modi’s leadership, the amount of work that has been done in the North East has happened for the first time after Independence. As a result of this, people from different cultures and identities, every party came together on the platform of NEDA to take forward the growth engine of the country’s development,” he said.
He said NEDA will not just be a political platform but it will be pious effort to connect the North East culturally, in a united form, with the whole country.
“About 270 different types of castes and cultures are there. More than 180 languages are spoken. To keep the North East, of such diversity of cultures, united is one of the primary aim of NDA and BJP. By bringing together all the cultures and civilisations in the region, NEDA will also become a cultural platform and also a development platform for the northeast.
“We should take a decision that in Guwahati a research centre for the development of North East under the stewardship of NEDA will be established. A cultural platform will also be formed in Guwahati for cultural unity among 8 states,” he said.
He said Prime Minister Modi also wants to see the North East developed and corruption-free and has many hopes from NEDA.
Shah said the party took all the necessary steps for the development of the region.
“We talked to Bangladesh for the land boundary agreement and implemented it. A surgical strike was carried out in Myanmmar. We improved relations with other neighbouring countries also,” he said.