Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday promised to introduce the special category status for Arunachal Pradesh again if his party is voted to power. Addressing a rally in the state capital Itanagar, Gandhi claimed his party will never attack the indigenous culture and heritage of the state.
“Arunachal Pradesh needs more roads, hospitals, airports, helipads,” Gandhi said. “We [Congress-led governments in the past] gave special status to all states of the Northeast. It also had a special place in our hearts. Today, the people of Arunachal Pradesh are not allowed to make their own decisions. These decisions are imposed on them from Delhi.”
The Lok Sabha elections will be held from April 11 to May 19 in seven phases. The results will be declared on May 23. Assembly elections in Arunachal Pradesh will be held simultaneously.
Gandhi alleged that the Bharatiya Janata Party and Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh want to impose a monolithic way of thinking on the country.
The Congress president alleged that the BJP government ended the policy for industrial development that his party’s government had implemented. Gandhi said a Congress government will also reintroduce special plan assistance and the North East Industrial Policy.
Gandhi added that the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill that the government wanted to introduce was the “biggest attack” on the culture of the North East. “We will not let this bill pass, come what may,” he said.
The Congress chief added that unlike Modi, who wants a “Congress-mukt Bharat”, his party does not want to get rid of any ideology. “We will say to them [BJP] that they are free to follow their own ideology,” he added. “But we will not allow them to impose it on Arunachal Pradesh, on Manipur, on any other part of the country.”
Gandhi claimed that his party will get rid of the “Gabbar Singh Tax” and instead bring in the Goods and Services Tax if it comes to power.
“Prime Minister Narendra Modi told small and medium business owners that GST will be introduced, and your lives will be made easier,” Gandhi said. “At midnight, Modi brought in the GST with much drama. The country realised that GST meant ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’. The government took away your money. Till today, no one knows what this tax is, how it is to be paid. So when our party comes to power, we will get rid of the ‘Gabbar Singh Tax’, and give you GST.”
Gandhi also claimed that while he cancelled all rallies following the Pulwama attack on February 14, in which 40 jawans of the Central Reserve Police Force were killed, Modi was shooting for a film at the Jim Corbett National Park. “He was busy with makeup, posing for the cameras for 3.5 hours,” Gandhi alleged. On the other hand, the Congress chief said he met the families of jawans from Arunachal Pradesh who were killed in the attack.
The Congress chief also questioned Modi’s patriotism, PTI reported. “During [Chinese President] Xi Jinping’s meeting with Modi in India, the prime minister was seen sitting with him over a cup of tea without uttering a single word on the boundary dispute,” Gandhi claimed. Arunachal Pradesh is one of the regions at the forefront of the India-China boundary dispute.
“How can Modi call himself a patriot when he did not even take up the matter of India’s territorial integrity?” Gandhi asked. “The people of Arunachal Pradesh are more patriotic as they are zealously protecting the country’s territory.” The Congress president had claimed last week that Modi was “scared” of Xi, after China again blocked a United Nations resolution to designate Jaish-e-Mohammad chief Masood Azhar a global terrorist.