GUWAHATI, May 20 � Stating that he would contest the 2016 Assembly elections, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today exuded confidence about the Congress Party securing a majority on its own and forming government in Assam for the fourth consecutive term.
�I will contest. I am in a fighting mood,� Gogoi said in reply to a query while addressing a media conference at the State Secretariat.
He further added, �We will form a government on our own. We have not thought of entering into an alliance with any other party.�
Gogoi said the Congress regime in Assam had achieved a lot during its 14 years of uninterrupted rule. �The credit for that goes to the people of Assam. The credit goes to the farmers, weavers, artisans, teachers, journalists, government staff, office workers and others. We came to power in 2001, which was the worst period in Assam�s history,� he said.
The Chief Minister added, �The law-and-order situation had collapsed at that time. Development activities had come to a halt. Government staff were not paid salaries. People, even in Guwahati, were not able to venture out of home at night. Terrorist groups were having a free run. And now the situation has changed to such an extent that we have been forced to ban functions after midnight.�
Gogoi said that civilian deaths had come down from around 1,500 in 2001 to 154 last year.
He said 85 lakh jobs, including four lakh government jobs, had been created since he first came to power.
Citing statistics, Gogoi said the per capita income in the State had gone up from Rs 13,059 in 2001-02 to Rs 49,480 in 2014-15, while the State�s GSDP had gone up from Rs 38,313 crore to Rs 1,62,652 during the period.
He said tax collection had grown from Rs 1,270 crore to Rs 8,177 crore during these years, while excise collection went up from Rs 147 crore in 2001-02 to Rs 665 crore in 2014-15.
Deposits in banks had risen over seven times during these years to reach Rs 76,795 crore in 2013-14.
�Consumer loans from banks have reached Rs 33,763 crore in 2014-15 as against Rs 3,663 in 2001-02, suggesting rise in business activity,� Gogoi said.
He said that similar improvements had been made in sectors like infrastructure, agriculture, power and health.
�But I admit that a lot more needs to be done. We have progressed, but we are still a backward State. So we need Special State status,� said the Chief Minister, and added that change in Central allocation pattern and abolition of Centrally funded schemes would hurt states like Assam.
Taking a dig at his critics who criticised his education policies, Gogoi said his government had done a lot to improve the education sector.
�In 2001, there were 1,500 students in Gauhati University. Now there are 5,000 students and many new departments have been opened. In Dibrugarh University, there were 1,459 students in 2001 and now the number has gone up to 4,250. My government has carried out measures to improve the salary and pension of teachers. There were 775 medical seats in the State in 2001 and now that number has gone up to 1,544, while the number of engineering seats has risen from 510 to 4,500 during this period,� he said.
Criticising the NDA regime at the Centre, Gogoi said, �Narendra Modi has given USD 1 billion to Mongolia. Here people are dying but Central schemes are being curtailed. Even the BJP�s ally Shiv Sena has criticised the Centre�s attitude.�
He, however, said that despite financial hardships the State government would ensure that government employees continued to receive their salaries in time.