Sonia congratulates Assam on evolving into a prosperous state
On the completion of the first year of its third successive term, Sonia congratulates Tarun Gogoi, visits Assam with promises of development
Photo: Ujjal Deb
In order to show how Assam is fast transforming from an insurgency-ravaged state to a developing economy under the Congress regime, the Assam government led by Tarun Gogoi on Saturday celebrated the completion of one year of its third successive term in power. Congress supremo and UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi flew down to Guwahati from New Delhi for a brisk visit and attended the celebrations held at the Sarusajai Stadium in Guwahati.
“I am glad to be here and to see how Assam is evolving into a prosperous state, the gloomy days of insurgency are over, most of the outfits want to join the national mainstream through peace talks,” Gandhi said in her brief address.
The UPA chairperson’s visit took place under high security cover since the anti-talk faction of United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) called for a general strike in the state on Saturday against Gandhi’s visit. On 24 April, when Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had visited Guwahati for a day, ULFA had called a similar bandh.
The city of Guwahati was turned into a fortress in view of ULFA’s threat and Gandhi’s visit. She stayed over an hour in the Sarusajai Stadium and enjoyed Assamese folk dance performances. “The youth here, who joined the rebel groups, have understood that violence is not a solution and have come for talks and we are also eager to solve the problems and address their aspirations through negotiated means,” the Congress leader added.
Talking about the days when he came to power a year back, Gogoi said, “We were up against a huge challenge. On one hand insurgency was in full flow and on the other, the health of the state finance was pathetic to say the least. Even government employees were not getting salaries. Over the years, we have been able to take Assam to sound financial footing, we have been progressing in every sector and we have been able to curb insurgency and it would not have happened if people of Assam would not have imposed faith on us,” said the CM.
Gandhi reiterated to the people of Assam that their strength lies in the ethnic diversity the state has, which she felt her husband and former PM Rajiv Gandhi realized 27 years ago when he signed the Assam Accord. She also declared that the Centre is mooting plans to build four new bridges on the Brahmaputra.
Meanwhile, ULFA’s general strike had a huge impact across Assam as shops and business establishments remained shut. There was almost no attendance in government schools and colleges and even in government institutions as vehicles kept off the roads.
Ratnadip Choudhury is a Principal Correspondent with Tehelka.