Former Assam CM terms state govt 'unfit' to rule

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Guwahati, Dec 9 (UNI) Former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta today accused the present Congress-led state government of misleading the people on his stand to grant SC/ST status to various communities of the state.

He also maintained that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and his colleagues should resign after admitting police lapses during the November 24 riots in the city as Mr Gogoi himself is in-charge of the Home ministry and the primary function of a government is to maintain law and order situation.

Addressing a press conference here, Mr Mahanta said, ''The present government is not fit to rule. Mr Gogoi has himself admitted about the police lapses and a government which fails to maintain law and order in the very capital city has no business being in power.'' He also pointed that the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) chief Bhubaneswar Kalita had said that Mr Gogoi had abstained from campaigning in the NC Hills autonomous council elections, in which the Congress was completely routed, owing to security concerns.

When the president of the ruling party says that the chief minister feels insecure in a part of the state even after the highest security, it speaks volume on the state's overall security scenario, he added.

Referring to the ST status demand of six communities of the state, Mr Mahanta said the present government's argument that he had opposed such a move when in power was a ploy to distract from the November 24 fiasco and the subsequent protests demanding ST status by several backward communities.

He said the state government's letter in 1999 during his tenure was on the issue of extension of benefits to SC/ST communities who have migrated to other states and where they did not enjoy such recognition.

He said, ''It was not over the grant of SC/ST status, which we always endorsed, but over grant of benefits in the migrated states.''Mr Mahanta also pointed that his government had prepared and submitted the definition of 'Assamese' under clause 6 of the Assam Accord, though it was not accepted and the definition was still in the process of being worked out.

The government has said we had done nothing in the matter but it is completely untrue, he added.

The former two-time chief minister also accused the state government of violating the model code of conduct for the ensuing Panchayat election.

He maintained that the government had announced several Appeasement financial packages after the notification was issued and his party, the Asom Gana Parishad (Progressive), would lodge complain about it.

On possible seat sharing arrangements for the Panchayat polls, Mr Mahanta said it would be decided at the district level.


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