The Congress on Saturday said if it forms the government in Mizoram, it would pass a new bill in the very first session of the new Assembly guaranteeing the protection of the land and forests of the northeastern state, besides the rights of its tribal people.
The opposition party also claimed that Prime Minister Narendra Modi was to address an election rally in Mizoram on October 30 but now, there are reports that he has cancelled his visit.
Congress general secretary Jairam Ramesh wondered whether this could be “because questions would be raised that he had not found time to visit the deeply-troubled neighbouring state” (Manipur, which is witnessing ethnic clashes for months now).
In a post on X, Ramesh said the Modi government “bulldozed” amendments to the Forest Conservation Act during the monsoon session of Parliament that evoked tremendous opposition and outrage across the country, even more so in the northeast.
The Congress promises that the first session of the new Mizoram Assembly led by the party will pass a new bill that guarantees to protect the land, forests and rights of the state’s tribal people, he said.
As forests are in the concurrent list, the bill will be sent to the president for assent under the provision of Article 254(2) of the Constitution, the former Union minister added.
This is what the Mizo National Front (MNF) government in Mizoram should have done immediately after the monsoon session of Parliament, but did not do so because it dances to the tune of the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at the Centre, Ramesh alleged.
He further alleged that the Zoram People’s Movement (ZPM) will also not pass such a bill as “they are a party without an ideology, without a programme or an organisation for the people of Mizoram, and will compromise with the BJP in no time”.
In another post on the microblogging website, Ramesh said, “The Prime Minister was to address an election rally in Mizoram on Oct 30th. But now there are reports that he has cancelled his visit.”
“Could it be because questions would be raised that he had not found time to visit the deeply troubled neighbouring state that has been on the deep edge for almost 180 days … with what face would he go to the rally in Mizoram?” the Congress leader asked. Polling for the 40-member Mizoram Assembly will be held on November 7 and the counting of votes will be taken up on December 3.