BJP chief Amit Shah calls for 'Congress-mukt' Northeast

BJP President Amit Shah with Manipur CM of N Biren Singh, CM of Assam Sarbananda Sonowal and Nagaland CM T R Zeliang during the 2nd Conclave of North-East Democratic Alliance in New Delhi on Tuesday. (Photo: PTI)

Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Chief Amit Shah on Tuesday expressed confidence that the Northeast Development Alliance (NEDA), which his party leads, would have governments in all the eight northeastern states. Shah said Prime Minister Narendra Modi has instructed that at least one minister from his ministerial council to visit the region each fortnight, and the Prime Minister's Office (PMO) is preparing a roster for ministers.

Addressing the second conclave of NEDA, Shah said BJP and its allies would soon achieve the objective of making the northeast region 'Congress-mukt'. Currently, the BJP and its allies run governments in five of these states. While Tripura has Communist Party of India (Marxist)-led Left Front government, Mizoram and Meghalaya have Congress governments.

NEDA convener and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the alliance expects to win in the forthcoming assembly polls in Tripura, Meghalaya and Mizoram. Tripura and Meghalaya go to polls by February, while Mizoram is slated to elect a new assembly in December 2018. The BJP has also set the target of winning a majority of the 25 Lok Sabha seats in the region.

Shah said NEDA wasn't just a political alliance, but a platform to "culturally unify" the diverse northeast. The BJP chief claimed the Modi government has done much more for the region than all of the previous governments, which were mostly Congress-led, at the Centre. He gave examples of the India-Bangladesh Land Boundary Agreement as an example of Modi government's work that has benefited the region.

The BJP chief said the Thirteenth Finance Commission had allocated Rs 87,628 crore. Under the Fourteenth Finance Commission recommendations, implemented by the Modi government, the allocation for the region increased by 238 per cent to Rs 3,13,375 crore.

Chief ministers of governments led by BJP, its allies and leaders of its smaller allies in the region gathered in New Delhi on Sunday for the second NEDA conclave.

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