|Rediff India Abroad Home | All the sections|
Vajpayee rules out greater Nagaland
October 29, 2003 12:13 IST
Last Updated: October 29, 2003 14:45 IST
Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee on Wednesday virtually ruled out the demand for a greater Nagaland saying there was no political consensus for changing the boundaries of states in the Northeast.
"State boundaries can be changed only by evolving a political consensus. At present, there is no such consensus," Vajpayee told a press conference in Kohima.
Asked whether a permanent solution to the Naga problem would be found only by talks with National Socialist Council Nagalim (I-M), the prime minister said, "All sections of society will be involved. A beginning has been made. The process will be continued."
He said no timeframe or deadline has been fixed for the Naga talks. "We would like the talks to conclude successfully as soon as possible."
He also announced a financial package of Rs 1,050 crore to improve the infrastructure and for the all-round development of Nagaland.
On holding talks with other insurgent groups in the Northeast, Vajpayee said, "We are ready for talks but they should give up violence."
Replying to a question on the Congress allegation that his Bharatiya Janata Party is using some militant groups to topple Congress governments in the Northeastern states, the prime minister said, "We are a democratic country. I was thrown out of power twice, but I managed to come back.
"Our Congress friends know how to come back to power or how to stop others from coming back to power," he said in a lighter vein.
"There is no question of using government machinery to further party interests," he said.
On the infiltration of people from Bangladesh into Northeastern states, the prime minister said, "Illegal migration must stop and those who are staying without legal documents will have to explain how they happen to be here. State governments are conscious of the problem."
Vajpayee said that a bill proposing repeal of the Illegal Migrants Determination by Tribunals Act was before the concerned Parliamentary Standing Committee and its report is expected during the winter session of the House beginning in November.
On the withdrawal of the Guwahati-Bangkok flight, which had hit exports from the Northeast, Vajpayee said the 'idea is to have more flights that will benefit maximum people. If any flight is withdrawn in any sector, it will be replaced'. Also, talks are on to improve the airport at Dimapur, which is 74km from the state capital, Kohima.
More reports from Nagaland
Read about: Naga Ceasefire