Jayanta Kalita is a senior journalist and author based in Delhi. He has worked for Hindustan Times, The Times of India and The Print among other media organisations. Kalita writes on politics, environment, health and culture, and keeps a close eye on India’s Northeast and its immediate neighbourhood.
Tarun Gogoi took charge of the Congress party when Assam was going through a difficult phase. Insurgency and ‘secret killings’ – the extrajudicial killings of family members of certain United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) leaders allegedly by state agencies — turned the state into one of the most dangerous places on the earth.
The latest dispute kicked off this month over a Covid-19 testing centre set up by Mizoram — within territory claimed by Assam — to sample Mizoram-bound truckers and other people. Assam has a long history of land tussles with states such as Nagaland, Mizoram, Meghalaya and Arunachal Pradesh which were once part of it.
Countries like Myanmar are treading cautiously even as China is pushing several infrastructure projects, including its ambitious Belt and Road Initiative (BRI), in Southeast Asia. The ongoing border standoff with China seems to have offered India an opportunity to further strengthen its economic and military ties with its eastern neighbour.
The need for a regional alternative to the BJP and the Congress was strongly felt in the wake of the massive agitation against the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) in the state last December. Since then, the civil society had been pushing for a political outfit comprising the anti-CAA organisations, including the AASU, the AJYCP, the KMSS among others. However, instead of joining forces, these groups are seen criticising each other in public, much to the delight of the BJP.
The Congress has lambasted the spendthrift BJP, alleging that the Sarbananda Sonowal government does not have money to offer free treatment to Covid patients, but it is ready take thousands of crores of rupees as loans to provide election sops.
Several Congress leaders believe that the Hindu electorate across the state would vote against the party if the AIUDF is projected as a partner. They have now decided to write a letter to the Congress high command, seeking the removal of the party’s state president.
The ruling BJP’s long pause has raised undue apprehensions in the minds of the people given that several agreements signed in the past, including the 1985 Assam Accord, have not been fully implemented yet.
Unlike India, China sets its eyes on long-term strategic goals, and it is pursuing them vigorously in India’s neighbourhood through trade diplomacy. Its latest targets are Nepal and Bangladesh that have traditionally remained loyal to India.
The governor wrote that “armed gangs” were brazenly running their own governments in the state challenging the legitimacy of its elected authority and creating a "crisis of confidence". It comes against the backdrop of the Naga peace process, which has been hanging fire for the past eight months.