Peace effort sans Barua can`t be fruitful: Mahanta

Former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta Friday said the "experiment of peace" initiated by the ruling Congress can be dangerous for the state if it excludes the head of the anti-talk faction of ULFA.

Last Updated: Apr 08, 2011, 12:33 PM IST

Nagaon: Cautioning that any effort to
exclude the head of the anti-talk faction of ULFA will not bear fruit, former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta Friday said the "experiment of peace" initiated by the
ruling Congress can be dangerous for the state.

"This politics of peace pursued by the ruling Government
can lead the state towards a insurgency-related crisis," the
leader of opposition and two-time former CM told reporters here.

"Any effort to exclude Paresh Barua, the
commander-in-chief of ULFA (anti-talk faction), will not be
fruitful," Mahanta said.

Mahanta, who was instrumental in launching the first
army operation in the state against the ULFA and forming the
unified command for anti-insurgency operation, said "instead
of negotiating with only one faction, the government should
have brought everyone within the ambit of the peace process
and this divide and rule policy is fraught with dangerous
consequences."

"The recent spurt of explosion in the state capital
Guwahati and that too in the Congress headquarter Rajiv Bhavan
is an indicator that peace is a far cry in Assam," the veteran AGP founder President added.

Turning to the initial round of peace talks between
ULFA Chairman Arabinda Rajkhowa and his colleagues and Prime
Minister Manmohan Singh, Mahanta wondered how the ruling
Congress claimed to have restored peace afterwards.
"The most important leader Paresh Baruah is against any
peace initiative and still this government think its possible
to resolve the issue without his involvement!" Mahanta said.

On negotiation with NDFB, Mahanta reiterated his stand
for holding talks with both factions.

"In fact, the state government`s changing focus on
peace has even surprised the mainstream Assamese people," he
claimed.
"Before the 2001 and 2006 election the Congress had
claimed development was the only reply to militancy and now
they are just claiming the opposite...Everyone is shocked with
the government`s stand that resolving the ULFA problem this
way will bring in development," he said.

Mahanta, contesting in Bahrampur and Samuguri
constituencies in the state`s second phase of polling, was
upbeat about returning to power.

The AGP, fighting 104 of the 126 assembly seats in
Assam, will "become the single largest party after the
elections," he predicted.

PTI