GUWAHATI, July 13 - The North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) was formally launched on Wednesday with ten political parties of the Northeast committing to join hands for development of the region and to dissolve all disputes through dialogue.
The launching function held at Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra here was attended by a host of dignitaries including BJP national president Amit Shah, Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Kiren Rijiju, DoNER Minister Jitendra Singh, Chief Ministers of Nagaland, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Assam, representatives of regional political parties like the MNF, UDP and other senior leaders.
Describing the occasion as historic, BJP supremo Amit Shah assured that all parties, who are part of NEDA, will have equal say in matters crucial to the development of the region. He regretted that despite having immense natural resources, the Northeast was still lagging behind many other states. He attributed this economic backwardness to the alleged apathy of earlier Congress government at the Centre and other factors like infiltration and extremism.
�Now the scenario is about to change. All the hindrances in the way of development will be dealt with. We are determined to connect the Northeast with rest of India, secure the international border shared by the region, fulfil the aspirations of the youth and tap the potential of the region to the optimum,� he announced.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal asserted that NEDA as a platform will ensure unity and amity among the northeastern states to face all the challenges, including the security concerns like proliferation of fundamentalist elements and threat posed by Jehadis. Sonowal called upon his counterparts of the region to resolve all differences through dialogue and unitedly thwart all anti-India forces.
�Under the prevailing circumstances we have to be vigilant, strengthen our intelligence network and share information. We should also focus on achieving sustainable growth without any harm to our environment,� he said, adding that the Northeast should also concentrate on skill development of youth and create employment opportunities.
AGP president and minister Atul Bora suggested that the NEDA should chalk out a common agenda and sit regularly to discuss the issues of the region. BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary stressed for resolving the unemployment issue and addressing the calamities caused by nature with urgency.
On the other hand, Ranoj Pegu of Gana Shakti voiced the hope that the grievances of the people will reach the Centre through NEDA and that appropriate steps would be taken to resolve them.
The Chief Ministers of Sikkim, Nagaland and Arunachal Pradesh called for peace and development of the region and enhancement of funds for the NEC.
Earlier, welcoming the dignitaries, Union Minister of State for Railways Rajen Gohain said that the historic political conclave will go a long way in meeting the aspirations of the people of the region.
Convenor of NEDA Himanta Biswa Sarma announced that the NEDA will have a permanent secretariat in Guwahati.