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Mukul fires ‘anti-Northeast’ salvo at BJP

“Over 82,000 illegal immigrants deported during UPA tenure”

GUWAHATI: Ahead of the third and final phase of Lok Sabha elections in Assam, former Meghalaya chief minister, Mukul Sangma has accused the BJP-led government at the Centre of being “anti-Northeast” and indifferent towards the sentiments of the people.

Referring to the agitation against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill, the veteran Congress leader said that any agenda which went against the sentiments of people would have natural repercussions.

“We have seen how the region suffered during the anti-foreigners movement in Assam. The Modi government has been anti-Northeast people. The special category status of Northeast states has been removed. Development projects of the North Eastern Council are being slowly withdrawn. The North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy 2007, was scrapped, depriving youths of jobs and compelling them to move outside the region. Congress is trying to reverse that situation now.” Sangma said while addressing the media here on Friday.

Slamming the Centre for “curtailing people’s freedom and failing to protect the spirit of democracy” during its five-year term, he urged the electorate to come together to save democracy and replace the government in Delhi.

“This is a crucial election… Given the record of how the government had misused institutions, threatened the inclusive character of the country and curtailed people’s freedom in the last five years compelling them to live with a sense of uncertainty and insecurity, it is time for citizens to come together and save democracy,” Sangma, who is also the chairman of the North East Coordination Congress Committee, said.

Further accusing the Centre of mismanagement while dealing with the National Register of Citizens update in Assam, he said the incumbent government is not focused on issue of illegal immigration. “In ten years of UPA regime, over 82,000 illegal immigrants were detected and deported as against only 1,822 during the past five years of NDA rule,” he claimed.

Claiming that the Congress-led government in Meghalaya had restored peace after the state was confronted by the challenges of internal security issues, he said his government had ensured that all stakeholders were involved to take on the dreaded terror activities.

“However, now the country is not in a position to be complacent about how the internal security challenges are being handled by the Modi government. I disagree with their claim of being the best to handle the situation,” Sangma said.

The Tura Lok Sabha candidate substantiated his claim by saying that terror attacks in Jammu and Kashmir has increased manifold in the last five years.

“According to a reply in Rajya Sabha, there has been a 177 per cent increase of terror attacks in the last five years…The government responds and reacts only on the eve of elections…I say with full confidence that Modi and his team does not have in-depth understanding of the complexities of dealing with the internal security challenges,” Sangma said.

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