GUWAHATI, April 3 - National People�s Party (NPP) will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha polls on its own in Assam and the Conrad Sangma-led outfit will go to the electorate with the agenda of federalism and provide a common platform to all the communities of the North East.
NPP has already announced its candidates for seven constituencies of Assam � Silchar, Diphu, Kaliabor, Tezpur, Jorhat, Dibrugarh and Barpeta � and is also thinking of contesting from the Guwahati seat.
�We have declared our candidates for seven constituencies. We have so far not finalized our nominee from Guwahati. In addition, we have decided to extend support to candidates of the United People�s Party Liberal (UPPL) in Mangaldoi and Kokrajhar seats. But we are not having alliance with any party,� Dilip Bora, convenor of NPP�s Assam unit told The Assam Tribune.
Bora, who was recently appointed convenor of the State unit by Meghalaya Chief Minister and NPP president Sangma, claimed that the party has allotted tickets only to individuals who already have experience of working among the masses in their respective constituencies and have a public profile.
�Our main agenda is federalism. We want a federal structure in the true sense of the term and we want control of the local people over their own resources. Our intention is to provide a common platform to all communities and ethnic groups of the North East. We want to create a platform where there will be representatives of different States of the region at the Centre who can raise the demands and share the grievances of the North East people in unison,� said Bora.
He said that all the States of the North East face certain common problems and challenges which need urgent solution.
Bora cited lack of industrialization, unemployment, poor infrastructure and other bottlenecks, as well as natural calamities among the issues affecting the entire region.
�Efforts are needed to increase power generation, improve communication, open up the region to the ASEAN countries, turn Guwahati into an international hub, increase the pace of railway electrification and expansion of railway lines and doubling of rail tracks, tackling erosion and flood, solving inter-State disputes, as well as for proper use of water resources. We believe that if the NPP comes to power in different States these issues can be resolved at the local level by means of discussion among the State governments,� said Bora.
He said that the NPP is also committed to promote the local languages of the North East.
�The Centre should be a unifying force and not unitary. India can become strong only if all its constituent States are strong. More power should be given to the States. All the north-eastern States are resource rich. Assam has oil, tea and forest products. Meghalaya has uranium, coal and limestone. States should be able to get maximum benefits out of these. Now we are only getting royalty. Why should States get only royalty? We should have control over resources and we can give a share of the revenue to the Centre,� said the NPP leader.
Asked about the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and about NPP being a part of the BJP-led North East Democratic Alliance, Bora said, �The Congress party dominated the political landscape of the North East for a long time and yet it was not able to accord due respect to the aspirations of the people of this region. For that reason we wanted a counter to the Congress. So in all States of the region there were attempts to form alliances to defeat the Congress. That was achieved and the NEDA was formed. But if any party, whether the Congress or the BJP or any other third force, try to bring back such a Bill in the future, then we will oppose it vehemently. Our first commitment is to the people of the North East,� said Bora.