Opposition Congress party today said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s speech at Jerenga Pathar in Sivasagar on Saturday lacked any substance and alleged that the BJP-led governments in the Centre and the State have failed to address the basic problems and issues of Assam.
“During his speech at Jerenga Pathar, the Prime Minister claimed that Assam and the North-east have got due attention from the Central government and made unprecedented progress in the last six years. However, the reality is that the North East Industrial Policy introduced by the previous UPA government was scrapped by the Modi regime. The Special Status of the North East for economic packages was scrapped. Grants-in-aid to Assam since 2016 have been decreasing even with BJP governments both in the Centre and the State. In 2018-19, it decreased by Rs 425 crore on an annual basis and declined by another three per cent in 2019-20. Due to economic mismanagement, the poverty index has gone up to 33 per cent after seeing a drastic decline during Congress rule,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) vice president and Lok Sabha MP Pradyut Bordoloi said here today.
He added, “Assam received only Rs 346 crore out of the Rs 2,000 crore National Disaster Management Fund that was apparently set up for the North East in 2018, even though the State government had asked for an assistance of Rs 2,274 crore. From 2014 to 2018, Assam did not receive Central aid for flood management apart from its share in the SDRF. Modi said that Assam has seen unprecedented progress in the last six years but he appears to have forgotten that it was Tarun Gogoi who was awarded the best Chief Minister’s award for infrastructural development in India by Modi’s own government.”
The Congress accused the BJP-led governments in the Centre and the State of failing to protest the interest of the indigenous communities of Assam.
“The Prime Minister claimed that the BJP government has provided social security and supported development of 70 indigenous tribes. However, the truth is that the BJP has failed to keep the promise of giving ST status to six major communities even after repeatedly promising the same. Tea garden workers have been deprived of their right to minimum wages even after repeated promises of implementing it made by BJP. In contrast, the Congress introduced the BTC, and autonomous councils for the Sonowal Kachari and Deori communities, thus giving them considerable autonomy,” Bordoloi said.
He claimed that crime against women have increased under the BJP dispensation.
“Modi said that 35 lakh women in Assam have benefitted under various schemes since 2014. But women have never been more insecure in Assam. For the third consecutive year, Assam has ranked number one in crimes against women as per NCRB data, ahead of even Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. One out of seven women in the State faces gender-based violence every day,” said the Congress leader.
He alleged that the government has fudged the data regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
“Modi, in his speech stated that the Assam government has done a commendable job in handling the pandemic. But the BJP is known for botching up government data. As has been highlighted in Parliament also, 60 per cent of the coronavirus death figures in the State have not been accounted for,” Bordoloi alleged.
The Congress leader accused Modi of trying to pass over the issues relating to safeguarding the language, culture and heritage of the Assamese people.
“The Prime Minister said that the government is committed to safeguard the Assamese language and culture and mentioned handing out of awards and recognitions to some renowned people. However, the awards were an eyewash to hide the BJP’s agenda of destroying Assamese identity through the CAA and use of Hindutva politics. The blatant violation of the Assam Accord speaks volumes about the BJP’s attitude towards the Assamese language and culture. The BJP tried to rename schools and colleges in Assam after RSS leaders like Deen Dayal Upadhyay and not Assamese freedom fighters,” Bordoloi said.
He further added, “Modi said that Atmanirbhar Bharat is crucial for Assam. In reality, this is only aimed at promoting business people from Gujarat and other parts of India at the expense of the Assamese people. For example, the BJP-led government tried to sell off the profit-making NRL and the APDCL to a prominent corporate house and has already privatised the Lokpriya Gopinath Bordoloi International Airport. There is no scope for Assamese entrepreneurs in Assam under the current dispensation.”