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First time since CAA protests, PM Modi to attend rally in Assam

In January, the Congress claimed PM Modi cancelled his visit to Assam in view of the protests against citizenship law. The prime minister was invited to inaugurate the third edition of Khelo India Youth Games in Guwahati on January 10.

Written by Deeptiman Tiwary | New Delhi | Updated: February 4, 2020 2:01:04 am
Narendra Modi, BJP, Modi Lok Sabha elections 2019, 2019 elections, elections 2019, 2019 polls, LS polls 2019, Narendra Modi, BJP Narendra Modi, BJP 2019 elections, Congress elections 2019, Indian Express, election news, latest news. Prime Minister Narendra Modi with a Assamese japi during a BJP rally in 2019. (file/Photo-DASARATH DEKA)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will visit Assam on February 7 for the first time after the Citizenship Amendment Act came into force. The PM is expected to address a public rally at Kokrajhar in the Bodo Territorial Area District (BTAD) days after the government signed the Bodo Accord for lasting peace in the region.

This is the third time after CAA was passed in Parliament that Assam figures in proposed visits of the PM. Two previous visits, including one with Japanese premier Shinzo Abe, have been cancelled for various reasons.

Sources said the PM is likely to address public on issues related to the anxieties associated with CAA in the state. Assam was the first state off the blocks to begin protesting against the CAA immediately after it was passed in Parliament. Assamese people have expressed fear that CAA would regularise citizenship of several outsiders in the state and thus impact its demography and ethno-cultural integrity.

“The visit is celebration of the Memorandum of Settlement the government signed with various Bodo groups, including militant groups, last week. There will be a speech by the PM and various cultural programmes will be organised,” a home ministry official said.

Sources said the PM will fly to Guwahati and then take a chopper to Kokrajhar. After the rally, he will fly to West Bengal and then to Delhi.

Modi’s visit to Assam had earlier been scheduled right after CAA was passed by Parliament. It was to be the summit meeting between him and Shinzo Abe in December last year. However, it had to be cancelled due to violent protests in the state.

The Prime Minister was also invited for the inauguration of the recently concluded ‘Khelo India’ games, held in Guwahati, but he did not attend it.

Explained

Protests led to cancellation last year

PM Narendra Modi’s earlier scheduled visit to Assam — for a summit meeting with Japan PM Shinzo Abe — was immediately after citizenship Bill was passed by Parliament in December last year, but it had to be cancelled due to violent protests in the state. Modi was also reportedly invited for the inauguration of the recently concluded ‘Khelo India’ games in Guwahati but did not attend it.

Last Monday, the government signed an agreement for lasting peace and development of Bodo region in Assam with All Bodo Students Union, Government of Assam and five factions of the National Democratic Front of Bodoland (NDFB). The signing of the Bodo agreement led to surrender of over 1600 militants of the major insurgent groups.

The agreement will pave way for reorganisation of areas under Bodoland Territorial Council region, enhance the powers of the BTC, increase Assembly seats from 40 to 60, rehabilitate surrendered militants of NDFB and a special development package of Rs 1,500 crore for the region.

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