With an eye on winning power in all eight Northeastern states, BJP president Amit Shah on Tuesday said that the region had been top priority for the Narendra Modi-led government. Speaking at the inaugural session of the North-East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) conclave, Shah said: “The development done by the Modi government in the last three years for the long-neglected Northeastern region is several times more than the work done by Congress-led governments in the last 65 years.”
While PM Narendra Modi was in Myanmar, Shah spoke about the NDA government’s Act East policy — giving priority to the country’s relations with its east Asian neighbours in its foreign policy — through which the government tried to maximise advantages for the Northeastern states.
“First of all there is a change in the policy for the northeast… focus has been given on development of the region rising above regionalism and separatism. It is our endeavour to unite all the Northeastern states… Narendra Bhai (Modi) has called it the ‘Asthe Lakshmi’ (eight Lakshmis, goddess of prosperity),” Shah said in his inaugural address at the conclave. “Shah pointed out infiltration, vote bank politics and political usage of terrorist groups as the factors that had derailed development of the region,” said a statement issued by the BJP.
The meeting was attended by CMs of Assam, Manipur, Sikkim, Arunachal Pradesh and Nagaland. The BJP, which launched efforts to expand its base in the Northeast immediately after it won the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, has grand plans for the region ahead of Assembly elections in Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram next year. The party rules three of the eight states — Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh; its allies in NEDA another two — Nagaland and Sikkim.