GUWAHATI, May 26 (IANS): Highlighting the Congress government's peace and development agenda in Assam, United Progressive Alliance chairperson and party president Sonia Gandhi Saturday appealed to militant outfits to join the central government's peace initiative.
Gandhi arrived here despite a dawn-to-dusk shutdown call given by the anti-peace talk faction of the militant group ULFA (United Liberation Front of Asom) led by Paresh Baruah to oppose the visit. The group also triggered a bomb blast in Tinsukia district Friday night killing one person.
Amid tight security arrangements, Gandhi, as scheduled, addressed a huge gathering at Sarusojai stadium here. The stadium was the venue for the celebrations of the Congress government's first anniversary of its third consecutive term in the state.
"I'm very happy to be here today. It's a very happy occasion as the Congress led-government has completed one year of its third consecutive term," Gandhi said.
This indicates that the policies of the government have been able to win confidence of the people of the state," she said, adding that peoples' confidence had increased the government's responsibilities.
"Most of the militant outfits have already realised that violence is not going to solve their problems. I hope those who are still outside the peace agreement will also join the peace initiative of the central government very soon," she said.
"You all are aware that when the Congress government under the leadership of Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi took over in 2001, the condition of the state was very pathetic -- the government employees were not getting their salaries; there were no roads, no rural development programme, there was no industry and businessmen had left the state due to the law and order problem. Today, I'm very happy to see the changed picture," she said.
"About 27 years back, former prime minister of India late Rajiv Gandhi had signed the historic Assam Accord for the development of the state. The present government in the state has been working relentlessly as per the direction of the Assam Accord to take the state towards development," she said.
"It is this relentless effort of the present government that the state has been able to achieve several milestones of development. Assam has created history in the country this year by producing record food grains. The tea industry has got a new lease of life during the last 11 years of Congress rule in Assam. Assam is the first state to give free computers to high school students," she said.
"People of the state have supported the government in all possible manner and the Congress government in the state will never disappoint the people in making the state one of the developed and peaceful states in the country," she said.