Nagaland | Will defend interests of Nagas, says Rahul Gandhi

Nagaland | Will defend interests of Nagas, says Rahul Gandhi

KOHIMA, April 4, 2019: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Wednesday assured the Naga people that his party will defend Naga culture, language, religion and way of life from the onslaught of BJP and RSS and to never compromise on it.

Addressing a mammoth public rally at DDSC stadium here, Gandhi pointed out that the country was facing a conflict between two ideologies – "BJP, RSS and Narendra Modi on one side and Congress party and all other forces that are fighting this ideology".

Accusing Modi and RSS of wanting to impose "one vision and one idea" on India, Rahul said Congress party however believed that every single part of the country had their own unique culture, beliefs and history and that India was home to different cultures.

Rahul asserted that Congress did not believe in an India where Nagaland had no voice, where Naga people were not allowed to look back proudly at their history and where Naga people were not allowed to express themselves. "Congress party and me will not allow the spirit, history, way of thinking, religion and language of Naga people to be crushed. We simply are not going to allow it," he declared.

He questioned BJP-RSS combine as to who gave them the right to impose their ideology on Nagas and other communities of the Northeast? "Who do these people think they are? Who do they think they are that they can come to Nagaland and the Northeast and tell its people how to live their lives?" he asked.

Rahul Gandhi said Naga history, culture and proud heritage were not only the strength of the Naga people, but also India's. "We are going to defend your culture, language, religion and your way from this onslaught. There is going to be no compromise on that," he said.

In his nearly 35-minute speech, Gandhi also accused Modi government of favouring Vijay Mallya, Mehul Choksi and Nirav Modi, who are all embroiled in fraud cases. He accused Modi, who claims to be "chowkidar" (watchman), of illegally favouring Anil Ambani over Hindustan Aeronautics Limited in the controversial Rafale deal. Hitting out strongly against Prime Minister Modi for allegedly making false promises to people by giving new commitments every time he speaks, Rahul Gandhi also accused Modi of always setting a "precondition" that he would deliver if he was made Prime Minister.

Gandhi remarked "for Modi, everything is a precondition". He said Modi promised two crore jobs to the people, deposit Rs 15 lakh in every individual's bank account only if they made him the Prime Minister.

Rahul said that unlike Modi, he would never set such precondition adding, "when you need Rahul Gandhi, whether he is Prime Minster or not, you will find him standing with you" amid loud cheers and thunderous applause from the crowd.

Rahul also spoke about his party's ambitious proposal for minimum income guarantee scheme or "Nyay" (justice) that promises to grant Rs 72,000 per annum to the poorest 20% families of the country earning less than Rs 12,000 per month.

Criticizing the BJP-led NDA government on the issue of contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill (CAB), he assured the people that Congress would not allow the Bill as it was a threat to the people of the Northeast and the idea of India as a country.

Encouraging Naga people not to fear the "attacks" of Modi, RSS and BJP in the form of CAB, Rahul promised that his party would work to ensure that nobody ever challenged or attacked the culture, language, spirit and religion of the Naga people.

He also came down hard on the Modi government for scrapping special category status and the industrial policy for the North-eastern States and for "destroying" Planning Commission.

He promised that if Congress was voted to power in 2019, he will restore both the status. "The moment we come to power in 2019, special status and the industrial policy for the Northeast will be given back to you," he said. Commenting on road conditions in Nagaland, Gandhi jokingly said he was told that Naga people remained fit due to the physical strain endured while commuting. He assured to improve the road infrastructure of the State.

Will work together with stakeholders to resolve Naga issue: On the Naga issue, Rahul Gandhi has assured the Nagas to work together with all stakeholders of Naga political issue and try and deliver a solution. Referring to the decades-old Naga political issue, Rahul said the issue touched the Nagas "very deeply" and that it was "complex".

Taking a jibe at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Rahul Gandhi said he wanted to make a "clear commitment" to Nagas and not just mouth "empty words" like Modi. "I want to give you a commitment that I will work together with all the stakeholders. I will listen to all the stakeholders. With love and affection, I will work with the stakeholders and try to give you a solution for the Naga political issue as soon as possible," he added.

Emphasizing on his assurances, Rahul said, "I will not give you empty promises, but I will give you my commitment that whatever I can do to help resolve this difficult issue, I will work with all stakeholders and try and deliver a solution."

With Nagaland Post inputs

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