Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday said he felt a deep sense of anguish at the Congress “abusing” Northeast culture and calling its dresses “outlandish”, whereas his government had worked for the development of the region.
Coming down heavily on the rival party at an election rally at Lunglei in Mizoram, he also said the country had understood the “divide and rule” policy of the Congress and this was the reason the party was just confined to two to three states. Polls in Mizoram, the last bastion of Congress in the Northeast, is scheduled to be held on November 28. After the rally in Lunglei, Modi interacted with BJP's election candidates, members of civil societies and students associations in state capital Aizawl.
During the nearly hour-long closed door interaction at the Aijal Club, issues related to the Mizoram-Assam border dispute and Bru refugees were reportedly discussed. Aijal is the old name of the Mizoram capital. “The Congress party, which once governed maximum number of states, is now restricted to just two or three states. Now, the people of Mizoram have a golden opportunity to rid themselves of this Congress culture,” the PM said. The priority for the Congress is not the people of Mizoram, it is fighting to gain power, the PM alleged.
“I feel deep sense of anguish when I see a Congress leader abuse traditional dress of the Northeast states, calling them outlandish. Your hopes, ambitions do not matter to the Congress. Their priority is power and not the people of Mizoram,” he said.
Congress leader Shashi Tharoor, in August, had said PM Modi wears “outlandish” headgear. “I ask you why does our prime minister wear all sorts of outlandish headgear wherever he goes around the country or around the world? Why does he always refuse to wear a Muslim skull cap?” Tharoor had said.
“You see him in Naga headgears with feathers. You have seen him in various kinds of extraordinary outfits which is a right thing for a prime minister to do. Indira Gandhi has also been photographed wearing various kinds of costumes. But why he still always says no to one?” the Congress MP had said. Modi asserted that on the other hand in the last four years, the BJP government at the Centre, has worked for greater recognition of Indian culture and traditions, far and wide. “Through its ‘Act, East, Act Fast’ policy, the BJP has, in the last four-and-a-half years, developed every region of the Northeast,” he said.
The double engine of the BJP governments in both the Centre and the state will take Mizoram to new heights, the prime minister said. “To speed up the development of Mizoram and to provide a corruption free government in the state, the BJP seeks your blessings and your support,” he said.
“Transformation through Transportation is our mantra for Northeastern states,” he said, adding, “the development work of the Railways has grown three times during our govt.” The Northeast has moved past from “bandh, guns and blockades” and people across Northeast are experiencing it, he said. He also acknowledged Northeast contribution in the sports events, including Asiad and the Commonweath Games. Even at the ongoing female boxing championship, the northeast is faring well, Modi said.
“Mizoram is a pool of talent. Here, it is commonly said that a child learns to kick a ball before uttering the word 'roti'. This talent will be helpful for the country in sporting events,” he said.
Mizoram’s football team is among the best in the country, Modi said, adding when the BJP comes to power in the state, it will make sure budding football players get all facilities to shine in international events In the interaction at Aijal Club, the Joint Action Committee on Inner Line Reserved Forest Demand (JACILRFD) submitted a memorandum to the prime minister, demanding the Centre constitute a “Boundary Commission” to look into the 70-year-long border dispute between Mizoram and Assam.
The memorandum, which was signed by major civil societies, student bodies and the political parties, sought judicious and permanent settlement of the boundary dispute under Article 3 of the Constitution.
It said the Inner Line Reserved Forest, in an area of 509 square miles as per notification of the Governor-in-Council in 1875, was within the territory of then Lushai country, now Mizoram.
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They demanded the 509 square miles area be handed over by the Assam Environment and Forests Department to its Mizoram counterpart.
The Mizoram NGO Coordination Committee, an umbrella organisation of civil societies and student associations, appealed to Modi to solve the 20-year-long Bru issue.
Its chairman Vanlalruata told PTI that they submitted a memorandum and also held a brief discussion with Modi on the Bru issue.
The Election Commission has decided to hold polling for 11,232 Bru refugees voters residing in Tripura at the inter-state border village of Kanhmun in Mizoram's Mamit district.