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Gogoi, State Cong MPs stage dharna near Parliament

By Spl Correspondent

NEW DELHI, Dec 16 - Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today led a delegation of State MPs and ex-MPs and staged a demonstration in the Parliament House premises pressing for solution of a seven-point charter of demands.

Displaying placards listing out their demands, the Chief Minister and the Congress leaders stood in front of the statue of Mahatma Gandhi, located opposite the main entrance of the Parliament House.

Those who were protesting included Gaurav Gogoi, Sushmita Dev, Pankaj Bora, Nazneen Faroque and Santiuus Kujur, besides ex-MPs Paban Singh Ghatowar, Dwijen Sarma, Madhab Rajbongshi, Ranee Narah, Kirip Chaliha, Bishnu Prasad, Abdul Hamid and Anowar Hussain, among others.

The Congress delegation was demanding restoration of the Special Category State status, the earlier funding pattern, the backward region grant fund, revival of the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy, grant of Scheduled Tribe status to the six communities, adequate funds to deal with floods and erosion and payment of oil royalty at par with Gujarat.

�Today, we have opened a new chapter, as no Chief Minister has ever sat in a dharna in front of the Parliament House,� Gogoi told newsmen.

The Chief Minister later rushed to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Parliament House Office and submitted a memorandum. At the end of the 20-minute meeting, the Prime Minister agreed to Gogoi�s suggestion to constitute a group of officers belonging to the Centre and Assam Government to go into the demands of the State Government.

�We do not want to get into a confrontation with the

Central Government and we want resolution of our demands,� the Chief Minister said.

Reiterating the demands, Gogoi said that Assam is an important part of India and it is not proper to deprive the State of its dues. �I had submitted three memorandum earlier to the Prime Minister, but nothing has happened and this is going to be my last memorandum,� he said.

The Chief Minister said that he has discussed the whole gamut of issues with Modi, ranging from the disruption of the funding pattern to the ULFA talks to the ensuing SAF Games. The Centre owes Assam an estimated Rs 20,000 crore, including the outstanding crude royalty, Rs 1,100 crore of Central Sales Tax and Rs 8,800 crore of the 13th Finance Commission.

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