Updated: August 7, 2015 8:03:05 am
Opening yet another front against the NDA government, Congress president Sonia Gandhi said Thursday that the Centre did not consult the chief ministers of Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur before signing the peace deal with Nagaland insurgents. She accused the government of being “arrogant” and alleged it had insulted the three chief ministers and the “federal structure of the country”.
Although the breakthrough between New Delhi and NSCN(IM) does not involve redrawing of Nagaland’s borders, many in Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Manipur — all Congress-ruled states with a significant population of Naga tribes — are apprehensive about territory being ceded to the NSCN(IM)’s proposed Nagalim.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has already declared that any move that affects the interests of his state will be opposed “tooth and nail”.
Sonia said when she contacted the chief ministers of these three states, she found they were “totally blank” on the deal. “Nobody has even bothered to brief them, perhaps not in detail, but even in a wide sense. After all, the CMs are directly affected, be it Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh or Assam. So, what do I take from this? From this I take that this government is arrogant,” Sonia said during the dharna outside Parliament in protest against the suspension of 25 Congress MPs.
“This government keeps on saying that everybody has to be taken along and that they will hold consultations with all, will take the views of all chief ministers. Then what happened? Their arrogance is now even clearer than before. And it is an insult not only to the chief ministers, but to the people of these states and to the federal structure of our country,” she said.
Rahul Gandhi made similar allegations. “Our voice is being suppressed in Parliament. The Congress president has said that the voices of three states is also being suppressed,” he said.
About the government’s claim that it was a historic accord, Rahul said, “It may be; I have no doubt that perhaps it may be historic. But what about consulting the CMs of the states that are directly affected? Isn’t that proof of the arrogance of this government? Our Manipur chief minister, Assam chief minister, Arunachal chief minister who are directly affected… Here is another show of the arrogance of this government. How can you sign an accord?”
Although the text of the agreement has not been disclosed, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had discussed it over phone with former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, Sonia and leader of the Congress in the Lok Sabha Mallikarjun Kharge. “We do not know the exact contents of the Nagaland accord,” Sonia said. “So, we cannot express our views yet. The Prime Minister did call some leaders including myself and said we have very good news. The Nagaland issue, which is going on for years, has now been resolved. I said congratulations to you,” she said.
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