GUWAHATI: Assam agriculture minister and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Atul Bora today admitted that the incumbent government did not work for development in minority dominated areas over the past five years.
He, however, did not blame it on the government, but held Badruddin Ajmal-led communal politics. He held the people responsible for electing All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) representatives from those areas.
“The Congress that ruled the state for over five decades did nothing for the tea community in garden areas. Since our alliance government came to power this time, the garden areas have witnessed unprecedented development at a rapid pace. But, the char areas remained underdevelopment even today. They did not see the light of progress. And, those who are doing politics on communal lines are responsible for this. The people who voted for candidates from communal parties are themselves responsible.
“It’s time the religious minorities in the state stand up for equal rights and equal development they deserve. They don’t deserve to be second class citizens. And to ensure their own development, they should support a secular party like the AGP. It is absolutely certain that the incumbent alliance will retain power at Dispur this time as well,” Bora said at the AGP-organised Jatiya Aikya Samaroh at Abhayapuri in Bongaigaon district today.
The minister also accused Ajmal of funding newly floated regional parties whom he branded as opportunists.
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“I am not alleging. Ajmal has himself stated that he was funding some of the new political parties,” Bora said.
He also took a dig at the character of newly floated regional parties saying: “These are parties who claim to be regionalists. But, when they look forward to be stakeholders in a Congress-AIUDF government, I would brand their ideology to be opportunists.” He was apparently hinting at Anchalik Gana Morcha that favours a grand alliance to take on the BJP-led alliance in the state Assembly elections likely to be held in April.
The other two parties – Assam Jatiya Parishad and Raijor Dal – have already categorically stated that they were opposed to alliance with any national or communal party.
“Let me assure you once again that AGP is the only party that follows the ideology of regionalism. Despite being allied with a national party, we have always strived hard to stick to our ideology of being with the people of Assam,” Bora, who had stepped down from the post of a minister along with party working president Keshav Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury when the Centre enacted the Citizenship Amendment Act only to return to Dispur once the anti-CAA protests subsided, said.
The AGP had voted in favour of passage of the contentious Bill.
Bora also took the opportunity to clarify that the AGP government from 1996 to 2001 could not identify and deport illegal migrants “because of various constraints including the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act”.
“After that we had to struggle a lot to come back to power maybe because our erstwhile leaders could not have convinced our people about the constraints we faced,” he added.
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