Champhai (Mizoram), Nov 20 (UNI) Facing a strong anti-incumbency wave having been in power for last 10 years in the state, Congress President Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday tried to strike an emotional chord with the electorate in Mizoram and recalled his earlier trip with his father and former Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi and pledged to make the state the gateway hub of eastern India
Perhaps in his maiden visit to Mizoram after three decades, Mr Gandhi also pledged that the Congress party if re-elected to power in the state again will create 11,000 new jobs next year.
In his election rally here – not far from international borders, Mr Gandhi started his speech with the local salutation ‘chibai (Hello Mizoram)’ and recalled that Late Rajiv Gandhi had dreamed big about bringing developments in the state.
“In 1987, my father drove around Mizoram streets. He had a dream to bring about development and a lasting peace in Mizoram,” Mr Gandhi said.
“I am very happy to see that Mizoram has shown the whole country how to move from an era of violence to an era of peace and prosperity,” the Congress president said.
He said it was the “visionary” nature of the Mizo Accord inked by Government of India under Rajiv Gandhi and legendary rebel leader Laldenga in 1986 that brought together “all the people” of Mizoram.
The Congress chief endorsed the last 10 years of Congress rule under Chief Minister Lal Thanhawla that the state government could bring in tremendous development in the state.
“It helped raise the income of the people of Mizoram,” he said adding in last 10 years the per capita income of Mizoram has doubled.
Many other states with more resources could not attain what this northeastern state has achieved, he said.
He also lauded the role of church and local civil society for “its dynamic and independent thinking”
that has contributed to the success of the Mizo people.
Thanking “all the people” of Mizoram for this, he said at the national level there is an “ideological fight” taking place between the Congress on one side and the BJP and the RSS on the other.
“The Congress party says India should be ruled by its people. Different ideas, different cultures, different people should be allowed to express themselves. On the other side, the RSS and the BJP believe that one idea should be imposed on top of India,” Mr Gandhi said.
He accused that the BJP-led dispensation wants to “destroy” people’s culture and religion. “Every state, they go, they have a local partner,” Mr Gandhi said in reference to the regional outfit former Chief Zoramthanga-led MNF, which is a BJP ally but is contesting the elections separately.
“I am sad to say that it is MNF which is opening the door for entry of the RSS ideology in the state,” the Congress president said trying to caution people against the regional outfit.
“It is sad that an organisation like MNF is helping the people (RSS-BJP) who are attempting to destroy the culture, language and religion of Mizoram,” Mr Gandhi said.
As majority of Mizoram’s population is Christians, for decades the BJP had a minimal presence in the state but in the run up to the elections this year, BJP is contesting all 40 seats and has also fielded former pastors.
Referring to the vexed intra-tribal groups conflicts involving Mizos, Chakmas and Brus, Mr Gandhi
said it is only the Congress idea “of unity and inclusiveness that can fight the divisive idea of the
He went onto say the RSS and BJP know it well that they are “unlikely to win the next (Lok Sabha) elections not only in Mizoram but in rest of India”.
In this context, he said the NDA regime is placing RSS people in key constitutional positions including in Raj Bhavan.
“….They are attacking RBI, they are attacking the Election Commission, the CBI,” he said adding “the idea is even if they lose next elections (2019), they will have their people in press, in CBI, in Election Commission and also RBI”.
Mizoram goes to the polls on November 28.
The Insides Speak.