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Cong. forced north-east CMs to retract views on Naga deal: BJP

The BJP on Saturday accused Congress of forcing its Chief Ministers of Assam, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh to retract statements on Naga peace accord and said it “augurs badly” for the country that the opposition party does so on the issue of national security.

The BJP asked Congress to introspect and reminded Sonia Gandhi of the Shillong Accord signed in 1975 when the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi did not brief or consult the Chief Ministers of North East, charging it with adopting different measures for Prime Minister Narendra Modi and NDA government.

Union Minister Nirmala Sitharaman rebutted the charge that no one was consulted by Modi government before signing the Nagaland Accord with NSCN (IM) and said the Prime Minister held detailed discussions with the Chief Minister, the Speaker and members of Nagaland assembly besides also working in close coordination with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

“Congress party should introspect rather than criticise the government even on a measure like this which has waited for a very long time and several governments have been engaged for it. It is not good for the country, particularly for the North East. I think the approach of Congress party should be for more in the national interest,” she said.

Ms. Sitharaman accused Congress of going against the voice of its own Chief Ministers and MPs who had initially welcomed the move but are now opposing the accord.

“To muffle their voice and make them speak much against their own opinion does not speak about any freedom of speech, freedom of expression and democracy within Congress party and on a matter of national security,” she said.

The Minister added that it is important that Congress plays an important role of being in opposition, as a constructive opposition and differentiates on issues and their national importance rather than pick up a fight on every issue and say they are shocked, surprised and will tooth and nail oppose it.

The Congress president Sonia Gandhi has slammed the Modi government over the Naga peace accord, accusing it of not taking chief ministers of north eastern states into confidence and said it showed its “arrogance”.

Ms. Sitharaman said the Congress Chief Ministers were forced to change their stand by Ms. Gandhi and asked if politics was more important than unity and integrity of the country.

She cited examples of Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and Arunachal Chief Minister Nabam Tuki who reportedly had to delete their tweets and change their stands.

She said Congress party wants to pick on every issue, be it political or economic, and constantly comment on the government while forgetting that the issue of national security requires this country to speak in one voice.

Reminding the Shillong Accord signed on November 11, 1975, the Union Minister said Indira Gandhi had not briefed any of the North East chief ministers and wondered if she would have wanted the opposition to talk differently on a matter of national importance.

“The Shillong Accord...Forgetting that measure today, you want to have a different measure when it comes to Narendra Modi and the NDA government which has made a historic deal,” she said.

“I wonder if Indira Gandhi would have wanted the opposition parties then to oppose tooth and nail the Shillong Accord only because she had one interlocutor and the other chief ministers were not even briefed,” she said.

The Minister said it is important that Congress understands what North East is desperately waiting for and that it wants peace and that “India can no longer afford insurgency and terrorism.”

The Minister claimed that there has been a practice in government where affected states are consulted whenever such accords take place and the process was duly followed in this case too.

She said the Nagaland Chief Minister, Speakers and members of assembly had all been in touch with the Prime Minister’s office and the Chief Minister also met the Prime Minister on Saturday.


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Printable version | Jan 18, 2022 6:42:19 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/congress-forced-three-northeast-chief-ministers-to-retract-views-on-naga-peace-deal-says-bjp/article7516461.ece

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