BJP Volte-face on Land Swap Deal with Bangladesh Riles Parties in Assam

Published: 06th December 2014 06:05 AM  |   Last Updated: 06th December 2014 06:05 AM   |  A+A-

GUWAHATI: The Centre’s alleged anti-people decision have forced the Opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and several other organisations to take to the streets. The AGP, which staged protests across the state on Friday to vent its ire, said it would oppose the land pact tooth and nail.

“We won’t accept it, as it is against the interests of the people,” AGP president Atul Bora told Express.

“The BJP was opposed to the agreement ahead of Lok Sabha polls. Why is it taking a U-turn now?” he asked.

Ironically, a BJP delegation, led by the party’s then state president Sarbananda Sonowal, presently a Union Minister, had visited the Indo-Bangla border ahead of the polls, to register its protest against the land pact.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi had stirred up the hornet’s nest, by raising the pitch for the Indo-Bangla land swap deal. Recently, he had made a strong case for the deal, saying it would benefit Assam in the long term.

However, his assertion has only ruffled the feathers of the people, who lambasted him and the BJP for the U-turn on the issue.

And rubbing salt into the wounds, the Centre subsequently decided to suspend the registration of all new schemes under the North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP), 2007, and do away with the 60-year-old system of providing subsidised rations to tea workers in the state. Over 19 lakh tea workers are beneficiaries of the scheme in the state.

Modi’s pledges during the election rallies, that the illegal Bangladeshi migrants would be sent packing, if the BJP were voted to power, was also well-received by the people, as was evident from the party grabbing seven out of the 14 LS seats in the state.

In the light of this, his latest assertion came as a shocker to them as they had, in fact, expected him to take some concrete steps in weeding out the illegal migration of  Bangladeshis, that threatens to change the state’s demography.

The decision has enraged the Adivasi organisations. “We won’t allow the government to take such an anti-people decision. We’ll give them a befitting reply,” warned All Adivasi Students’ Association of Assam president R Kujur.

The decision to suspend the registration of new schemes under the NEIIPP has also not gone down well with the state governments in the North-East who have decided to take up the matter with the Centre.

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