ULFA won''t take part in Assam polls

New Delhi, Feb 10 (PTI) The ULFA today said it was hopefulthat the insurgency problem in Assam can be solved through anamendment in the Constitution and made it clear that it willnot participate in the forthcoming Assembly polls.

After participating in the first unconditional talks withthe government, the banned group said it has entered intodialogue with the government respecting the desire of thepeople of Assam and to find a meaningful, permanent solutionto the ongoing "Indo-Assam conflict".

Addressing a crowded press conference, ULFA ''foreignsecretary'' Shashadhar Choudhury said, "We have noted a recentstatement of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh that the IndianConstitution is flexible enough to accommodate the desire andaspirations of all people.

"Through the talks, therefore, we proposed to evaluatevarious facets of the Constitution and to explore theviability of protection and enrichment of the sovereignty ofthe people of Assam in all its dimensions -- political,social and cultural, within the flexibility as mentioned bythe prime minister."

Declaring that the agenda of the future talks with thegovernment and ULFA''s demands would be decided by the "peopleof Assam", he said it was necessary to amend the Constitutionto fulfil the hopes and aspirations of the people.

Asked what would be the role of ULFA in the coming AssamAssembly elections due in April-May, Choudhury said the groupwould not participate in the polls.

"Time and again we have been saying that we will have zeroinvolvement in the polls," he said. However, he said, ULFAcannot mention anything what would be the role of itssupporters in the elections.

On the possibility of declaring a ceasefire, Choudhury,flanked by ''vice-chairman'' Pradip Gogoi and ''financesecretary'' Chitraban Hazarika, said the initiative has to comefrom the government. "Anyway, we have not indulged in violencein last one year," he said.

Asked about the opposition of ''commander-in-chief'' PareshBaruah to the dialogue process, he said it was a decision ofthe group''s highest decision making body general council.

"Baruah is still our commander-in-chief," he said.

He said the ULFA is still a banned group and its membersoutlawed but they are trying to be a "good citizen" to bring alasting solution to the "conflict".

Choudhury also said the outfit was opposed to thecontinous illegal immigration from Bangladesh and wanted asolution to the problem.

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