GUWAHATI, April 6 - Accusing the BJP of trying to create division in the Assamese society, former Prime Minister and senior Congress leader Dr Manmohan Singh today called upon the people of the State to vote the Congress back to power in Dispur.
Addressing a public rally at the Assam Engineering Institute ground at Chandmari here, Singh listed out the achievements of the previous UPA regime and said that the government, headed by him, had extended all help to the State.
�The BJP has been trying to divide the society of Assam. But I firmly believe that such a conspiracy would never be allowed by the people of Assam, who nurtured a long tradition of syncretism and mutual existence. This is the land of Sankardeva, Madhabdeva, Ajan Fakir, Sukapha, Lachit Borphukan, Chilarai and Bagh Hazarika. The land has always stood united in the times of crisis,� Singh said.
Dr Singh also accused the NDA government of drastically reducing Central funding to the State, which has in turn resulted in slowing down of development activities. �It is really very unfortunate that the Special Category State Status, accorded to Assam, has been abolished by the Modi government,� he said.
Dr Singh added that the Congress respects views of all communities on different issues, including the demand for ST status by some of them.
�Our party and government have been trying to address them as per the constitutional provisions and without hurting the interest of other communities. We feel this is a very sensitive issue and we hope the Central government will address it carefully, without resorting to divisive politics,� he said.
He accused the NDA dispensation at the Centre of not fulfilling any of its promises and accused the Narendra Modi government of re-branding and renaming old schemes initiated originally by the UPA government.
�The UPA government always believed in work, rather than empty talks. It strove to work for the poor and the downtrodden. It brought in many schemes and legislations to achieve this goal. Mention must be made of the schemes like the Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act, Aam Aadmi Beema Yojana, the Rajiv Gandhi Shilpi Swasthya Beema Yojana and the Rashtriya Swasthya Beema Yojana. Now the NDA government is trying to repackage the same schemes as their own. We have also observed with dismay and trepidation that they are trying to water down some of the provisions of the pro-people legislations like the Food Security Act and the Right to Education,� Dr Singh said.
He added, �Modiji spoke very eloquently about the black money kept in the foreign banks. He showed the dream that within no time of his coming to power, the money would be brought back to India and every citizen would get Rs 15 lakh in their bank accounts. But ironically the government has allowed two big businessmen, who took thousands of crores of rupees from India, to flee this country,� said the former Prime Minister.