Lok Sabha Election Will Be A Contest To Save Democracy– Congress - Eastern Mirror
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Kohima, Nagaland

Lok Sabha election will be a contest to save democracy– Congress

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 10, 2024 9:06 pm
Congress
Jairam Ramesh along with other Congress party leaders during a press conference at Congress Bhavan in Kohima on Wednesday. (EM Images)

KOHIMA — Elaborating on the significance of upcoming general election to the 18th Lok Sabha, the national general secretary of All India Congress Committee (AICC) and in-charge of communication, Jairam Ramesh, on Wednesday stated that polling would be held to save democracy and constitution in the country.

Addressing media persons at Congress Bhavan in Kohima in the presence of other party leaders, Ramesh stated that the British had rule India for over 200 years basing on the policy of ‘divide and rule,’ whereas the ten years rule under the prime minister, Narendra Modi, was marked by ‘bluff and rule.’

Substantiating his statement, he stated that the content of Framework Agreement signed in 2015 between the NSCN (IM) and the centre was not made known to the people despite the comment made by Modi as ‘a game changer.’ He added that the same was with the case of Agreed Position of 2017 with the WC-NNPGs.

He went on to state that in 2023 when the assembly elections were being held, “a third set of groups came forward” to which Modi promised a permanent settlement to the problems of Nagaland.

Ramesh alleged that the people do not know the details of 2015, 2017 and 2023 saying that “all we know is different people have been bluffed by the prime minister.”

Stating that the people of India in 1947 got freedom from ‘divide and rule,’ he stated that in 2024, the people required freedom from ‘bluff and rule’ policy of the present government.

The Congress leader also hit out at the entire ideological agenda of the RSS and the BJP on ‘One nation- one election, one tax, one party, one leader, one religion, one language and one food’ to destroy religious diversities of India.

He cited instances of Manipur in which the people have been targeted because of their religious belief besides burning down places of worship. He alleged that the prime minister has not spoken a word nor visited the state or met the chief minister, Member of Parliament, member of legislative assembly and political parties.

He cautioned that the agenda of RSS-backed BJP government, which started in Manipur, would be done in Nagaland, Assam and other parts of the northeastern states.

Ramesh laid emphasis on the need for protection of diversities which is under threat because of the BJP-RSS ideology of singularism in the nation.

Meanwhile, he also expressed concerned over the Article 371 (A) which was added to the Constitution of India in 1963 with the special provisions for the state of Nagaland for its social, religious practices, Naga customary law and its administration of civil and criminal justice besides ownership and transfer of land and its resources.

Pointing out that Modi government removed the Article 370, which provided special provisions for Jammu and Kashmir, Ramesh stated that the same government could remove Article 371 (A).

Highest unemployment rate

Ramesh claimed that India witnessed the highest unemployment rate among the educated youth under the BJP government since the last 45 years of Independence.

“The more educated you are, the greater is the chance that you are unemployed and one educated unemployed youth commits suicide every two hours, which have never happened before,” Ramesh alleged.

The Congress leader highlighted that the Congress party has five justice – youth justice, women justice, farmer justice, worker justice and social justice for weaker sections of the society.

Democracy means having an opposition

Asserting that democracy means having an opposition, Ramesh alleged that in Nagaland everyone has joined NDPP and the only party fighting the NDPP, which is being held by the BJP, is the Congress.

Continuing his view on democracy, he said it means strengthening the judiciary, media, civil society and does not mean silencing the voice of the people.

He also expressed concern over the threat on freedom of speech, which was guaranteed by the constitution of India.

He appealed to the people of the country to place their belief in the Congress party and its INDIA alliance and also on INC candidate, S Supongmeren Jamir.

Naga political issue and Article 371 (A)

On the Naga political issue, Ramesh asserted that it was during the mid 90s that the NSCN (IM) and the Government of India began the dialogue process when Narasimarao was the prime minister, which was taken forward by successive prime ministers with successive interlocutor at political level.

He claimed that in 2013, an agreement was finalised but due to elections in 2014 and the prime minister restraint from creating new situation and waited for the election to be over to take it forward. However, as the Congress did not come back to power, Modi took forward whatever had been negotiated and papers were signed, he said.

He pointed out that the government of the day should take the nation into confidence and make public what was agreed and not the introductory parts alone.

Ramesh said for the Congress, the Article 371 (A) was sacred and would be respected in letter and in spirit. He added that any modifications that weaken the provision of Article 371 (A) would be unacceptable to the party and Nagaland.

He stressed that the Congress manifesto was for a permanent solution as the people desire for permanent peace where jobs are created, economic growth takes place and its aspirations are fulfilled and religious practices are not under threat and Article 371 (A) is not under threat.

Additionally, he stated that the permanent solution should be inclusive where all groups of Nagas accept and respect and are willing to abide. He was of the opinion that it would be possible only when the government of India is transparent and does not divide and rule, bluff and rule, and makes promises to different groups.

In this regard, he assured that the Congress party would take the role to be transparent and embrace all sections of Naga society if the party comes to power.

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By Thejoto Nienu Updated: Apr 10, 2024 9:06:40 pm
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