Cong not to compromise on security of Assam: Sonia

The Congress will not compromise on the security and integrity of Assam and the country, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi asserted on Friday and rubbished the accusation that her party encouraged influx of foreigners.

Last Updated: Apr 01, 2011, 21:49 PM IST

Karimganj: The Congress will not
compromise on the security and integrity of Assam and the
country, UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi asserted on Friday and
rubbished the accusation that her party encouraged influx of
foreigners.

"The Congress has often been accused of encouraging
influx, but this is not the truth. The Congress has never
compromised on the security of Assam and the country and will
never do so in the future," she said referring to the issue of
foreigners` influx from neighbouring Bangladesh.

"It is the Congress government in Assam that took up the
issue of updating the National Register of Citizens with March
21, 1971 as the cut-off date," she told an election rally at
Neelam Bazaar in Karimganj district bordering Bangladesh.

Hitting out at the AGP and BJP, the Congress president
said, "You have already seen what the AGP in the state and
the NDA at the Centre have done.

"The state was in an all-round mess ten years ago when the
AGP was in power with even government employees not getting
their salaries and people not being able to go out of their
homes due to the poor law and order," she said.

"Dus sal pahle charo taraf badhali thi. Halat bahut
kharab thi. Par abhi jameen asman ka antar hai (Ten years back
there was chaos all around. The situation was very bad. But
now there is a sea change)," Gandhi said.

"You have given them (AGP and BJP) a strong reply in the
last ten years and the Tarun Gogoi-led government has laid the
foundation of development here. Now we have to build on that
foundation," she said.

Citing the WikiLeaks disclosures, she accused the BJP of
indulging in "opportunistic politics" and questioned how
people could believe the opposition party.

"You must have heard about WikiLeaks where a senior BJP
leader was quoted as saying to a foreign diplomat that the
party`s Hindutva ideology is opportunistic. Can now anybody
believe them? Never. I know, you all are aware and understand
everything and recognise these people and their intentions,"
she said.

Gandhi was referring to a cable by Robert Blake, the
Charge at the US Embassy in Delhi, to his government that
senior BJP leader Arun Jaitley had remarked to him that Hindu
nationalism is an "opportunistic issue" for his party.

Jaitley has, however, maintained that he had not used the
word "opportunistic" in the cable by Blake, first accessed by
`The Hindu` daily.

Gandhi asserted that the UPA government had laid special
emphasis on education by implementing the Right to Education
Act wherein each child below 14 years would be provided free
and compulsory education while mid-day meal schemes were
introduced in government schools.

The state government has already given computers to
children who secured first division in the matric examination
and cycles to girl students of class VIII, she said.

The Congress, she said, also proposed to set up Barak
Valley Engineering College and a Polytechnic Institute in
Karimganj.

Gandhi reached out to the minorities saying it was during
UPA-I government that a separate ministry for minorities was
set up to for the first time to ensure their development.

A food security scheme has also been implemented by the
UPA government to ensure that none went hungry, she said.

On welfare of women, she said her party realised that no
state or country could develop without the their progress.

The UPA government, realising the importance of surface
communication, has sanctioned a broad gauge railway line from
Silchar to Guwahati and double-laning of national highways.

Addressing another rally for the tea tribe dominated
Khumtai constituency, she said, the national health insurance
provided to BPL people had been extended to tea garden
workers.

A special tea garden package has been given to Assam for
reopening of sick gardens, she said, adding, tea had also been
included in the central special development project to boost
export.

PTI