Union Home Minister Amit Shah, who’s on a two-day visit to election-bound Assam, on Saturday launched the BJP’s election blitz in the state, asserting that the northeast has emerged as the growth engine of the country under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Speaking at a programme to launch various projects, Shah said that Modi considers the northeast as the focal point for India’s development, and has visited the region “30 times in the last six years and each time he has come with some gifts.”
He also said Assam has embarked on a journey of peace and development under Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma. Shah said NDA’s triumph in the just-concluded Bodoland Territorial Council polls was like a semifinal before the assembly elections in which it will emerge winners with a huge majority.
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Stating that all militant organisations in the state have surrendered and returned to the mainstream, the Union minister also promised a social transformation in the villages by reviving a Bhakti movement so that the young people do not take up arms. For this, he said, the government is helping 8,000 ‘Namghars’, Assam’s traditional Vaishnavite monasteries more than 50 years old, with a financial aid of over ₹2.5 lakh each.
“There was a time when separatists used to give arms in the hands of the youth in these states (Northeast). Almost all armed groups have joined the mainstream and the startups launched by youth are competing with other startups globally,” said Shah. He also urged farmers agitating against the new agriculture laws to resolve their issues through discussions.
Evoking 16th-century Assamese cultural icon Srimanta Sankaradeva, Shah said that the BJP believes in strengthening the language, culture, and arts of the states. “The Congress didn’t do anything for the birthplace of Acharya Sankardev whose contributions gave recognition to Assam’s history, drama writing, arts and poetry…BJP believes India can not achieve greatness until the culture and language of states are strengthened. India’s culture and arts are incomplete without Assamese culture and arts.”
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Shah, who had landed at the Guwahati airport on the intervening night of December 25-26, was received by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and welcomed by scores of folk artistes and supporters outside the airport.
Much like Shah’s West Bengal visit a week ago, two opposition leaders are likely to join the saffron party in his presence on Saturday, reported NDTV, adding that the senior BJP leader will hold meetings with colleagues and other workers for the party’s campaign in the 2021 assembly elections.