Statehood: An electoral plank for pol parties?

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“The most I can do for my friend is simply be his friend.”

-Henry David Thoreau

The genesis of self determination and desire for self rule was always there right from the times of the Raj in almost all the tribes in north east India. In fact Assam is very late to be in turmoil with this issue. The very nature of the composition of the population in the state and the fear of the migrants from mainland India and illegal migrants from Bangladesh have given fillip to the youth leaders of the state in the late 70s and 80s. Some have taken the path of insurgency like the ULFA and the then BSF (Bodo Security Force) and some have taken to democratic agitation like the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC).

It is very disheartening that the Assamese youth have to fight for their won existence through the AGP in their own land and the ASDC have to agitate for the dues of the Dimasa and Karbi tribes. In Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao the seed for more autonomy, known in various times as Autonomous State, separate state and statehood, has been sown long time back. The movement for autonomy just ebbed and flowed and reached its crescendo with the Autonomous State movement of the then ASDC in Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. The issue of autonomy or self rule or autonomous state will keep on festering like maggot infested wound if not solved. The leaders of the then ASDC may have failed in what they came out to do but they sure left an impact in the body politics of the two districts. Now, no national party worth its salt dare go into any kind of election without promising statehood or autonomous state in the two hill districts. The Congress till 2016 was vouching for separate state for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao.

But, the Congress, when it was in power at Diphu, Dispur and Delhi did pretty little convincing on the issue. The BJP too did not want to be left behind and jumped into the autonomous state bandwagon making it the first point on its manifesto for election to the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC) 2017. Before that, senior BJP leaders LK Advani promised the same at Kheroni in West Karbi Anglong and Rajnath Singh did the same at Bakaliaghat in Karbi Anglong. The Congress party while it was in power in KAAC, state and Delhi promise autonomous state and even separate state to Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao from time to time, that is, it keep the issue  alive so as to keep the regional forces in check. Smarting from the defeat in the recent KAAC election the Congress leaders of Karbi Anglong and allied organisations went to Jantar Mantar to agitate for Autonomous State for Karbi Anglong and Dima Hasao. But the way the Congress handled the issue made their sincerity suspect. Now that the BJP is in power at KAAC, Dispur and Delhi, it is to be seen whether it will keep its electoral promise of Autonomous State or not. If the BJP too act just as the Congress did then sooner or later the hills of Assam will be agonised again.

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