GUWAHATI, Dec 1 – A day after Narendra Modi concluded his maiden visit to the State after assuming charge in New Delhi, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi today engaged in vitriolic ‘Modi-bashing’ and accused the Prime Minister of somersaults in policy decisions and of showing lack of concern for the needs of Assam.
Speaking to reporters here, Gogoi pointed to Modi’s speech at a rally here yesterday where the Prime Minister had hinted at ratification of the India-Bangladesh land swap deal.
“Before the Lok Sabha polls, he (Modi) had criticised us over the land swap deal and BJP had indulged in huge propaganda over the issue. From yesterday’s meeting we have now got the impression that he is now speaking in our tone. Now he is speaking in the same voice like us,” Gogoi said.
He said the people of the State had lots of expectations from Modi’s maiden visit to Assam as Prime Minister.
“However, ultimately the expectations of the people of Assam were not fulfilled. There is no ‘Acche Deen’ for Assam even after six months of the new government assuming charge at the Centre. Maybe for BJP leaders there is Acche Deen. So there is nothing unusual in doubting if his love and affection for the people of Assam is genuine or false,” Gogoi said.
In a lighter note, he added, “Modi is a very good speaker. He makes sweet talk. Anyway, Gujarati people consume more sweet products. But in reality, he has done nothing.”
He said the State government had a month ago submitted a memorandum to the Centre seeking help in various areas including flood and erosion control, insurgency, employment generation and skill development and he had personally taken up the matter again with Modi during the latter’s visit here, but there has been no response from the Union government.
Gogoi lambasted Modi for not even mentioning the issue of flood and erosion of Assam despite the devastation wrought during the September floods when around 90 people had died.
He said the State had sought Rs 1,915 crore after the floods and another Rs 6,800 crore for repair of old and dilapidated embankments but Union government has been lukewarm in its response and has not released any funds except what is due under disaster relief.
The State’s request for Rs 1,319 crore for skill development project has also not been sanctioned by the Centre, he added.
“He did not come to visit us during the floods. Even now he did not give anything. But he gave assistance to Andhra Pradesh and Jammu & Kashmir,” Gogoi said.
The Chief Minister alleged that the Centre has only given Rs 520 crore this fiscal for MNREGA to Assam as against Rs 1,100 crore sanctioned earlier.
“Similarly, implementation of the National Food Security Scheme has been delayed citing the need for computerisation of the rolls. Is it Acche Deen? Who is suffering because of this? Only the poor people. How can we run the State if we do not get such assistance,” he said, adding that the Centre should at least release part of the Rs 12,000 crore lying unutilised under the Non Lapsable Central Pool of Resources for the North East.
Gogoi said Assam is losing 8,000 hectare land every year to erosion and four lakh hectare in total but the Central government has taken no initiative for operationalisation of the Brahmaputra River Valley Authority (BRVA).
The Chief Minister said the NDA government is only replicating the schemes formed by the previous UPA regime and only re-branding them.
“Let us wait for some more time. But I am not much hopeful. People of Assam believed his words and voted for him. Now people will decide how much he has given the State in return. He opposed Land Swap before polls. Now he supports it. He opposed GST before polls but now has started speaking for it. His stand is one before assuming power and another after winning power,” Gogoi said.