Naga peace talks are underway, Union Home Minister Amit Shah said on Tuesday and hoped that the initiative taken by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to bring lasting peace to the northeastern state will bear fruit.
There are some issues related to development and rights of eastern Nagaland and those will be addressed after the Assembly elections, Shah said at an election rally in Tuensang.
"There was an insurgency in Nagaland before 2014... We started the peace process. I am hopeful that the initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi will bear fruit in bringing lasting peace in the state with the preservation of Naga culture, language and tradition," he said.
The Eastern Nagaland People's Organisation (ENPO), the apex tribal body in the region, had called for a boycott of the Assembly elections over their 'Frontier Nagaland' separate statehood demand.
Amit Shah's promise to people of Nagaland
"The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has held discussions with ENPO and an 'agreed agreement' has been reached. But we could not materialise it due to the implementation of the Model Code of Conduct. I promise you all that after the elections, the agreement will be implemented through which all issues of eastern Nagaland will be addressed. There will be massive development in the region and you will get your rights," he said.
Shah asserted that several measures were taken in the nine years of BJP rule at the Centre to bring peace to the Northeast and there was a 70 per cent dip in violent incidents in the region during the period. "There has also been a 60 per cent reduction in deaths of security forces, while civilian deaths have dipped by 83 per cent in the Northeast," he said.
The Armed Force (Special Powers) Act, 1958, has been lifted from large parts of Nagaland by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) government, Shah contended and expressed hope that the Act will be removed from across the northeastern state in three to four years.
Rise in budget allocations for Naga tribes, over 100 projects finalised
Budgetary allocations for tribes have been increased from ₹21,000 crore in 2014 to ₹86,000 crore in 2022, Shah said. More than 100 developmental projects, including 13 in Nagaland, have been finalised after conducting extensive studies using space technology, he said. "During the UPA rule, only ₹1,300 crore was allocated for the development of Nagaland in 2009-10, which was increased to ₹4,800 crore in 2022-23 fiscal by the BJP government," Shah said. "In the last eight years, 53 developmental projects have been completed in Nagaland and 142 more are in the pipeline," he said.
Shah listed out the number of beneficiaries of various central schemes. "Support us this election and I assure you that free medical treatment cap will be increased from ₹5 lakh to ₹10 lakh under Ayushman Bharat," he said. After the rally, Shah left for Dimapur, completing his two-day campaigning in eastern Nagaland, and flew to Meghalaya, which is also a poll-bound state.
Electoral seat-sharing agreement between BJP, NDPP
Shah clarified that there has been an electoral seat-sharing agreement between only the BJP and NDPP and no other party is connected to the alliance.
"It has come to my notice that some parties are misleading voters by saying that they have the support of the BJP. I want to clarify that we have only two symbols for Nagaland polls — lotus (of the BJP) and globe (of the NDPP). We are fighting this election under the leadership of Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio, while Prime Minister Modi is the leader of NDA," he said.
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