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Reaching out to militant groups main priority: Gogoi

Last Updated: Friday, May 13, 2011 - 12:06

Guwahati: Set to retain power for the
third consecutive term, Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Friday said bringing all insurgents groups, including the ULFA, to
the negotiating table would be his main priority to ensure
lasting peace in the state.

"Reaching out to the militant groups and bringing
lasting peace would be my priority. We have been trying to
bring all the insurgent groups including the ULFA to the
negotiating table," Gogoi said.

The Congress appears to be inching towards getting
majority in the 126-member Assembly as the party was leading
in 75 seats.

The Chief Minister, however, said even if Congress
gets majority on its own, the alliance partner, the Bodoland
Peoples Front, would continue to be part of the government as
the party helped Congress in "difficult times".

"We will continue our alliance with BPF as they had
helped us in difficult times," Gogoi, who is set to become
Chief Minister of the militancy-affected state for the third
term, said.

75-year-old Gogoi, who had first become Chief Minister
in 2001, said people of Assam voted for the Congress as the
party provided "good governance" besides ensuring economic
development across the state.

"Economic development won us vote. People have
rewarded us for the good work," Gogoi, who had served as Union
minister from 1991 to 1995, said.

Asked about various corruption charges against his
government, he said there were no charges against any minister
of his Cabinet.

"My government probably is the only government in the
country which referred nine-ten corruption cases to the
CBI," he said.

Gogoi also identified "flood and erosion" as major
challenges facing the state and said more attention will be
paid to deal with the problem.

Asked about influx of Bangladeshis through the porus
border with Bangladesh, Gogoi admitted infiltration was a
"problem" for the state but said the issue has been
exaggerated by the opposition parties.

"I took the initiative for increasing border outposts
along the border (with Bangladesh). Lot of steps are being
taken to check infiltration," he said.

Gogoi also rued the "perception" outside the Northeast
that Assam is a disturbed area.

"Today Assam is a much peaceful state. But outside
perception is that it is a disturbed area," he said.


First Published: Friday, May 13, 2011 - 12:06

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