Arunachal Chief Minister Kalikho Pul called for the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) to reach beyond its political mandate and said that the platform had tremendous potential to also carry a very effective developmental mandate for the northeast region.
He was speaking at the meeting of the NEDA at Guwahati which was chaired by BJP National General Secretary and North East in-charge Ram Madhav and also attended by Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, Nagaland CM TR Zeliang, Assam Minister and NEDA Convenor Hemanta Biswa Sarma,former Mizoram CM and President of the Mizo National Front Zoramthanga, Assam Minister and AGP President Atul Bora, MP and National President of the National People’s Party Conrad Sangma, President Bodo People’s Front Hangrama Mohilary, MLA and Working President UDP Paul Lyngdoh and Ranoj Pegu President Ganashakti.
Taking part in the deliberations, Chief Minister Pul expressed that NEDA constituted of 2 core ideologies. The first is the emergence of a non-Congress political leadership in the northeast and the other being the idea of coordination. These two together have a lot of potential in the context of the region, he said.“Since the region does not have uniform aspirations, such a forum is critical and will emerge as a major coordination platform to jointly address the issues that confront us all”.
The crucial meeting of the NEDA, which was convened to work out the framework for creating a region wide network of like-minded non-Congress parties, resolved to have a Congress-mukt northeast, which would be replaced by the development driven governance of the NDA.
Underlining the political need for a viable alternative to the Congress, as well as the developmental and strategic importance of the northeast, the leaders of about a dozen regional parties agreed to work on consolidating the strength of these parties and bringing even smaller regional parties into the NEDA umbrella. This would be concretized further with the first Convention of the NEDA proposed on July 13 at Guwahati.
“Regional political parties are often seen as having very little potential of extending their scope and ideology beyond our States and our regions. That is where I think that the NEDA is vastly different. Because of the fact that the present government, under the leadership of Narendra Modi, has been very keen on protecting the idea and spirit of federalism, I think that itself gives NEDA the advantage of being regional in character but national in outlook. I am confident that working within the framework of the NEDA, we will be able to converge our regional and State aspirations seamlessly with national goals,” Pul said.
For this, he stressed that it was essential that the BJP-spearheaded NEDA must offer 3 clear alternatives- a respect for federalism, access to party leaders and quick decision-making. Outlining how, in the earlier Congress governments, Chief Ministers of States would need to wait for days for an appointment with a Central leader or Minister, he compared that to the today’s scenario when there was an ease of access, with Central Ministers and high level central Govt officials visiting the region regularly.