Congress president Sonia Gandhi and party vice president Rahul Gandhi on Thursday attacked the government on the Naga peace accord, but the BJP rejected the charge and accused the opposition party of “playing politics on a national issue”.
“We are really shocked that the prime minister (Narendra Modi) didn’t even think of taking into confidence the chief ministers of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh, which are the directly affected states,” Sonia Gandhi told reporters in the parliament complex.
“It is the arrogance on part of this government. How can an accord be signed without consulting the chief ministers that are directly affected, even if the accord is being termed as historic,” she asked.
“I have no doubt that it may be historic, but what about consulting our chief ministers?” Sonia Gandhi said.
“Their arrogance is now even more clear. It is not just an insult to the chief ministers but to people of the states and the federal structure of the country,” the Congress president added.
Rahul Gandhi termed the government’s move to sign the pact with the National Socialist Council of Nagaland (NSCN-IM) an “insult” to the people of Manipur, Assam and Arunachal Pradesh as they were not even informed about it.
“It’s an insult to every single citizen in these three states and it’s an insult to the people of India the way this government works,” he said.
The Bharatiya Janata Party denied the Congress charge and accused the opposition party of playing “politics even on the issue of national security”.
“Gandhi’s charges are far from the truth as the Congress-ruled states were consulted, but they chose to boycott the meeting,” union minister Nirmala Sitharaman said at a press conference here.
“How can the Congress chief question the accord when its party leaders, including Ninong Ering and Assam chief minister welcomed it soon after the announcement,” she wondered.
The minister said the Narendra Modi government believed in co-operative federalism and always consulted states on every issue, including land acquisition and Goods and Services Tax bills and even on the reconstitution of National Institution for Transforming India (NITI) Aayog.
Sitharaman also showed to the media copies of tweets from Congress chief ministers.
Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi tweeted: “I appreciate peace in Nagaland n welcome settlement of Naga issues. But I will oppose tooth n nail any move that affects Assam’s interests. To allay apprehension of the people, the prime minister should make his stand clear that the Naga peace accord does not affect the interest of Assam…”
Arunachal Pradesh Chief Minister Nabam Tuki wrote on his Twitter account: “Welcomed the initiative of the Centre to bring a peaceful solution to the prolonged Naga political issue.”
However, Tuki deleted his tweet later.