Congress Connects With New Separate State Organization in Karbi Anglong
By Sushanta Roy
Diphu: The district congress leadership of both Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao autonomous district yesterday formed a new organization under the name "United Forum for Hills State" (UFHS) with the aim of achieving a separate state comprising the two autonomous hill districts constituted under the sixth schedule of the Indian constitution.
A meeting was held at Karbi Hemtune in the state capital with Congress MLAs of both hill districts. The Chief Executive Members of the two Autonomous Councils, the district congress presidents and general secretaries all discussed the goal for a separate state.
Dr Mansing Rongpi Parliamentary Secretary, Klengdun Engti MLA of Bokajan, Debojit Thousen and Tuliram Ronghang CEMs of DimaHasao and Karbi Anglong autonomous Council, congress EM of both the councils and district congress secretaries and presidents were present at the meeting.
Dr. Mansing Rongpi was elected as the president of UFHS, Tuliram Ronghang and Debojit Thousen as vice president. DCC president and secretaries of both the districts were elected as secretaries of UFHS. MP of hill districts Biren Sing Engti who is a front runner on the congress ticket for the forthcoming Lok-Sabha election was chosen as the chairman of the advisory board of the new organization. The meeting has decided to form a core group to steer the agitation for statehood under Article 3 of the constitution.
Dr. Mansing Rongpi later speaking to the media mentioned that when the autonomous council was formed for both the districts in 1951, the people of the hills wanted a separate state for their socioeconomic development as the scope of the autonomous council is very limited.
A small state like Sikkim with a population of about six hundred thousand and a geographical area around six thousand square kilometers receives on average 2500 crores as plan allocation. Whereas Karbi Anglong with an area of 10434 square kilometers and nearly one million population receives 400 crores annually.
"Congress to Telangana has made us confident for demanding statehood, we are sure at a time we will achieve what is given in the constitution as this is the objective of our people," Dr. Mansing Rongpi said.
The sudden leap of congress party on the separate state issue comes at the same time that HSDP is set to make it the core issue in the coming Lok-sabha election. It appears to be bizarre as the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) and Chief Minister Gogoi have already rejected the claim straight away a few months back, just after the violent uprising in Karbi Anglong on this issue. [See Hills State Democratic Party Holds Massive Election Campaign In Karbi Anglong]
Khorsing Engti, the Hill Areas Development Minister of Gogoi, distanced himself from the district congress meeting. It will be interesting to observe whether DCC goes ahead with the issue sincerely or makes the most of it as a poll attention-grabber.
Sushanta Roy is a journalist in Assam, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora of Assam, and the things that affect them. Read more stories by Sushanta Roy.
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