Press Trust of India
Imphal, 8 February: BJP prime ministerial candidate Narendra Modi today blamed the Centre for lack of development in the northeast since Independence and said a proper policy for the purpose had not been framed by it.
Mr Modi, who addressed a public rally attended by a large crowd despite a general strike called by a militant outfit, also took on the state governments in the region, saying lack of policies by them and the Centre had made northeast face extremism, insurgency and militancy problems.
Minutes before he landed here, a militant outfit ambushed a posse of Assam Rifles personnel and killed one of them and injured three others at Lambisa in Manipur’s Ukhrul district.
During his hour-long speech, Mr Modi said it was due to the lack of development in the region that its people could not take part in the development work in the national mainstream and stressed on the need for peace to usher in progress and development.
It was former BJP Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee who had initiated steps for the all-round development of the region by ordering all Central government departments to spend 10 per cent of their budget on it, he said.
“If BJP comes to power (in the next general election), we will frame proper policy and solve all these problems so that people of the region enjoy the fruits of development.”
“People from the northeast are being looked down on in Delhi because of the Central government’s lack of attention for them. We will do everything possible to put all the people of the country ~ whether they are from the northeast or elsewhere ~ on par,” he said.
BJP, he said, condemned the killing of the Arunchal Pradesh student in the national capital last week.
Blaming both Centre and the Manipur government for “rampant corruption” in the state, Mr Modi said Rs 500 crore meant for development of Loktak lake, the only fresh water lake in the north east, had been misappropriated by those in the ruling party.
He said China was exporting herbal medicines and plants to the rest of the world, while northeast, endowed with a wealth of flora and fauna, lagged far behind.
If the natural resource was utilised for developing proper medicines, the youth of the region would find employment and need not go to other states to look for jobs, he said.
Mr Modi later flew to Guwahati to attend another public meeting there.