NEW DELHI, Sept 5 - The chief ministers of five northeastern states today raised an alarm over unabated illegal migration from Bangladesh calling for sealing of the India-Bangladesh border.
The second conclave of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA), inaugurated by BJP national president Amit Shah here this morning, saw the chief ministers discuss at length the problem of illegal influx from neighbouring Bangladesh, besides a range of issues, including political strategy, insurgency problem and overall development.
The chief ministers who attended the conclave were Sarbananda Sonowal, Pema Khandu (Arunachal Pradesh), N Biren Singh (Manipur), TR Zeliang (Nagaland) and Pawan Kumar Chamling (Sikkim).
Three Union ministers � Minister for DoNER Dr Jitendra Singh, Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju and Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain also took part in the day-long conclave.
NDA partners like the AGP (represented by its president Atul Bora and State minister Keshab Mahanta), BPF (represented by its chief Hagrama Mohilary and Rajya Sabha MP Biswajeet Daimary) and Mizo National Front (represented by Zoramthanga) and other regional parties also attended the conclave.
The takeaway from the conclave was that BJP leaders led by their national president sought to convey the message that the party was determined to wrest control of the three remaining states of the region � Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura by the fall of 2018. The BJP leaders pledged that they would make the Northeast a Congress-free region. �When we meet for the third conclave, all the eight states will be BJP-ruled,� asserted NEDA convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Several of the allies though had a mixed feeling about the meet, most BJP leaders hailed the NEDA initiative. An alliance partner said that the NEDA initiative was a reflection of the now defunct North East Congress Coordination Committee.
On the other hand, another alliance partner was highly critical of the role of the DoNER Ministry. �What exactly is the role of the DoNER Ministry other than being a post office. We get to hear the same old slogans every time we meet,� commented yet another alliance partner.
Later briefing newsmen, Himanta Biswa Sarma said that Assam Chief Minister and his counterparts raised the issue of illegal influx from Bangladesh and discussed ways to check it. They discussed options like sealing of the international border, he said, adding, the NEDA also discussed updating of the NRC and shared their concern over the issue.
Earlier in his inaugural address, Amit Shah said the Modi government had done �several times more work� in the Northeast than the Congress did in 65 years. �The region is top priority for Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Development of the eight states was a must for overall growth of the country,� he said.
The BJP national president advised the NEDA constituents to meet frequently and resolve disputes or share prosperity and problems among the states. �NEDA will be a collective platform of the northeastern states to deal with common problems... it will act as a facilitator to resolve the disputes among the states of the region,� he said.
Rijiju said earlier the Northeast was dysfunctional and there was a disconnect between Delhi and the region, besides among the states. Referring to the internal security situation of the Northeast, he claimed that in the last three-and-a-half-year period there was tremendous improvement in the law and order situation.