Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Monday alleged that the north-east region has suffered from “geographical isolation, political instability and imbalanced development” for 70 years due to the previous “Congress governments’ intentional ploys to divide and rule”.
He also claimed that several conflicts in the region that lasted for 70 years were “resolved” in nine years of the BJP-led NDA government at the Centre.
“Be it the Bodo, Karbi conflict in Assam; the issues of Brus in Mizoram or the NLFT insurgency in Tripura, many such discords have been extinguished under leadership of Hon PM,” Mr Sarma said on Twitter.
In the last nine years, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has “extensively focused on connecting and uniting the region, he said.
“The relentless focus on connectivity is not restricted to building physical linkages but winning the faith of the people by cementing emotional linkages,” the chief minister said in a series of tweets.
Mr Sarma also said PM Modi visited the north-east region “60 times and his council of ministers 400 times” in the last nine years.
“No Central Government, since 1947, has invested so much political capital in a region, where some states send just one MP to the Lok Sabha”, he wrote on the microblogging site.
“For 70 years, North East suffered from geographical isolation, political instability and imbalanced development, intentional ploys to divide and rule by Cong govts,” he alleged.
He also referred to Union Home Minister Amit Shah’s visit to the border village of Kibithoo in Arunachal Pradesh in April, where he launched the ‘Vibrant Village’ programme.
“In 2023, for the first time a Union HM (Home Minister) stayed overnight in an Arunachal town close to China border and spent a night in Nagaland,” Mr Sarma said.
During the current NDA rule, the “culture of flying visits has ended and so has the culture of NE leaders travelling to Delhi asking for funds”, he claimed.
“Since 2014, Rs 3.64 lakh crore has been spent on the region under the Gross Budgetary Support Scheme of the Union Budget”, he said.
Mr Sarma, the convenor of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, asserted that boundary issues among the states in the region are “nearing amicable resolution”.
“Not just insurgency, we had infighting. Ad hoc formation of northeastern states by the Congress meant states were fighting with states on boundary issues for 50 years or more. Most such matters involving Assam, Arunachal, Meghalaya & Nagaland are nearing amicable resolution,” he said.
During the last nine years, there has been a “74 per cent reduction in insurgency” and an “89 per cent drop” in civilian deaths in the north-east, he claimed.
”Geographical application of AFSPA (The Armed Forces Special Powers Act ) has been greatly reduced, not due to a cottage industry agitating against it but due to an improved security climate’,” he said.
From 1947 to 2014, expenditure on infrastructure projects in the North East was Rs 2 lakh crore but from 2014 till date, this figure stands at Rs 7 lakh crore, Mr Sarma claimed.
The national highway network has expanded 86 per cent in the last nine years, the allocation for rail expansion in the region has increased by 263 per cent and for the first time sever, all seven sister states will be connected by a common rail network with 2000 km of tracks either being laid or upgraded at a cost of Rs 75,000 crore, he said.
There has also been a “90 per cent increase in airports in the north-east which has “made our region the fastest growing air traffic zone in the country”, he said, adding that, “20 of our rivers are now part of National Waterways, a Rs 9,000-crore gas pipeline will connect us to the nation’s gas grid and months within its launch, we are on the 5G map”.
The biggest evidence of the “holistic transformation” of connectivity in the north-east is that for two consecutive times, seven states in the region have voted for the NDA in assembly and parliamentary elections, he said.
“Empty vessels make more noise but action speaks louder than words”, the Assam chief minister added.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)
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