GUWAHATI: Assam's 15th chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, hailing the "peace and harmony" in Assam during the first tenure of BJP goverment during the ongoing Assembly session, said that the release of abducted ONGC employee Ritul Saikia is a "ray of hope" and bodes well for the establishment of peace in the region.
"We have to establish a peaceful Assam for the newer generations. That is our responsibility. That is something that I will even tell Paresh Baruah," Sarma said, adding that the ULFA (I) should begin negotiations to establish a "light of peace" in Assam.
Assam Police formally took him into custody from Nagaland Police at Mon and brought him to Sonari where again police questioned him. Saikia, along with two colleagues, was abducted by the ULFA(I) on April 21.
"The last 5 years were a new lease of life into the peace and harmony of Assam," Sarma said responding to criticism by Congress MLA Bharat Narah, adding, "In the days of Congress, they had to rush to Kokrajhar and Udalguri owing to communal unrest. The agitations of the Karbi and Dimasa folks hampered the communal harmony of Assam. Holi was played with blood. We were grieved by the bomb explosions in the very midst of Guwahati city."
In the last 5 years of BJP-led rule, however, Sarma said, there was peace and harmony between the Hindus and Muslims and all the communities of Assam became a part of a common fabric.
"In the next 5 years, this government will work 24x7, 365 days a year to fulfill the hopes and aspirations," he promised, adding that the current government will accelerate the 'flow of development' first ushered in by his predecessor Sarbananda Sonowal.
Highlighting the schemes of the BJP led government (such as Arunodoi and old age pension), Sarma said that history will look back favourably at the Sonowal-led government as one that ushed in 'inclusivity' and 'development.'
Sarma also welcomed discussions with the opposition and urged opposition leaders to put the government back on track in case it "derails." He went so far as to say that opposition leaders will even be given "extra time."
Sarma in his speech also congratulated all the MLAs -- both re-elected and freshly elected ones.
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