Guwahati: In a press conference here today, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi congratulated the central government and expressed his gratitude for making the Indo-Bangladesh land deal a reality.
“We already have a significant number of Bangladeshi people in Assam. Their contribution to the Assamese society- our culture, population, jobs, economy- is immense. It’s time we acknowledge their contribution, and hand over the land they want. Personally, I do not believe in borders. We should do away with these borders; they create a lot of trouble. Also, the Bangladeshi people are soon expected to become the majority of population in Assam. Hence, the most sensible thing to do in such a situation is to hand over the land to Bangladesh and let them do what they want,” Mr. Gogoi said.
Several political and nationalist organizations carried out rallies to protest the land deal. One organization has already called for Assam bandh, while the others wait for their turn.
Commenting on the protests, Mr. Gogoi said, “They are not getting the true meaning of this deal. And no, it was not formulated by the BJP government. It was a dream of the Congress party to hand over Assam to Bangladesh. In the process, we have already invited so many Bangladeshi people to Assam. We provided them all the support they needed, we helped them rehabilitate. It was a process in progress. When the new government came to power in the center, they too initially didn’t realize the big picture. Thankfully, after a lot of coaxing, they finally understood how important it is to handover Assam’s land to Bangladesh. It is the only solution to the “Bangladeshi Problem”, citing which many people did politics in the state. But no party could come up with any solution. The BJP is merely implementing what we had formulated. It’s time for the truth, no more politicization of a non-issue.”
On asking how he plans to tackle the other border disputes in the state, the Chief Minister said, “This deal has opened new doors to us. We must embrace the changes and proceed in peace and harmony to resolve all the disputes with our neighboring states. Since a long time we are facing violent land disputes at the Jorhat – Nagaland border where the Naga people want to occupy certain areas of Assam. That area is very near to my birthplace, and it pains me to see the people fight and suffer over these unfortunate disputes. In the past, we have also seen land disputes with Arunachal Pradesh and Meghalaya. Our government is committed to the people of Assam, and it’s painful to see them suffering. Therefore, we have drafted a proposal to the central government that we want to give away the entire land of Assam to the neighboring states in a first come first serve basis. Apart from Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, and Meghalaya, we will also request the West Bengal government to claim the western part of Assam.”
Talking about the strategy for the 2016 elections, Mr. Gogoi said, “There is no need for any strategy. The people of Assam know that we are the only party working to resolve their problems. One of the founding principles of A.G.P was to resolve the Bangladesh problem. Could they do anything? No. Even the BJP did not have any clue about how to resolve the problem. It is only because of the foresightedness and brilliance of the Congress leaders that today we have achieved such an exemplary solution to the long standing problem of Assam. We will come to power again. I’ll not leave until we are done giving away all the lands and dissolve Assam. I’ll be the last Chief Minister of Assam. That is also an important matter.”