GUWAHATI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe will meet in Guwahati under the shadow of the protests against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The two leaders will arrive in the city on December 15 on a three-day visit to the Northeast and hold a bilateral meeting on the Brahmaputra. By the time they come, the controversial Bill will be, possibly, tabled and passed in Parliament.
Assam’s Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said Union Home Minister Amit Shah would make a statement on the Bill in Parliament on December 9. The protests are likely to get intensified if the Bill is passed.
The state government is maintaining secrecy on the two leaders’ visit, ostensibly given the anti-Citizenship Bill protests which are being staged by various organisations, including that of students.
Sarma, who visited the south bank of the Brahmaputra on Saturday to take stock of the beautification and other works, refrained from disclosing the names of Modi and Abe saying that would be done by the Central government.
“There will be an important visit of dignitaries to Guwahati from December 15-17. It will be an unprecedented and important visit for the state. Synchronizing with it, we are trying to beautify the banks of the Brahmaputra and the roads. We seek the fullest cooperation from the residents of Guwahati,” Sarma told journalists.
The roads, which Modi and Abe will use, besides government buildings which stand along are being spruced up. Temples and heritage buildings, located on the banks of the Brahmaputra, are also getting a makeover under the beautification work.
Several boats and ships have been lined up on the river as part of the beautification work. A certain stretch of the river “has been kept ready” in case the two PMs go on a cruise.
During their stay, Modi and Abe are also likely to visit the Kaziranga National Park. On December 17, the last day of their stay, they will visit Imphal to pay homage to the soldiers killed during World War II in Manipur.