Politics

Congress will restore special category status to Arunachal, other Northeast states: Rahul Gandhi

Itanagar: Arunachal Pradesh is special to the Congress party, leader Rahul Gandhi said at an Itanagar rally on Tuesday, promising to restore the special category status to the state and others in the Northeast if voted to power.

“There are some states in the country which require special status because of their ‘unique problems and difficulties’ such as connectivity, terrain, infrastructure,” Gandhi said at the election rally.

During the Congress rule at the Centre, he said, Arunachal Pradesh and other NE states enjoyed special category status.

“Arunachal Pradesh has a special place in the heart of the Congress party and we would like to have a dil ka rishta with the people of the state,” he said.

Rahul also said the Congress would not pass in the Rajya Sabha the controversial Citizenship Amend Bill that has got the BJP much flak in recent times. Calling the Bill ‘detrimental’ to the Northeast people, he said the Congress would never allow the “suppression of the people of the Northeast”. The NDA does not have majority in the Upper House.

The Congress would never attack the indigenous language, culture, customs and traditions of Arunachal and other Northeast states, Rahul said.

The government plans to change the definition of illegal migrants with the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016. It seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 that gives citizenship to illegal migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Busshist, Jain, Parsi and Christian origin. The Act, however, does not have a provision for Muslims who are Shias and Ahmediyas and who face persecution in neighbouring countries.

The Assam Gano Parishad has threatened to cut ties with ally BJP over this, stating that this law attacks the cultural and linguistic identities of population here. Opposition parties have also slammed this attempt to grant citizenship on the basis of religion.

Election to the 60-member Arunachal Pradesh Assembly and two Lok Sabha seats will be held on April 11.

PTI

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