Weeks before declaration of LS poll schedule, PM to visit three N-E states

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Agartala/Guwahati/Itanagar, Feb 7 (IANS) Weeks ahead for the announcement of the 17th Lok Sabha election schedule, Prime Minister Narendra Modi from Friday would embark upon a two-day visit to the three northeastern states – Assam, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, officials and party leaders said on Thursday.

According to officials and BJP leaders in Guwahati and Agartala, in Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura, Modi would inaugurate and lay foundation stones for several infrastructure projects and in Guwahati during his overnight stay he would hold meetings with the senior leaders of ruling Bharatiya Janata Party.

“Prime Minister would arrive in Guwahati on Friday evening and stay their overnight. He would hold meetings with the party (BJP) leaders there and next day he would move for Itanagar (Arunachal Pradesh),” Tripura Pradesh BJP General Secretary Pratima Bhowmik told IANS.

She said : “Prime Minister’s two-day visit would boost the morale of the BJP leaders and works in the three northeastern states and adjoin states.”

A senior BJP leader in Guwahati also confirmed Prime Minister’s programme in the Assam’s main city.

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In Arunachal Pradesh, Modi would lay the foundation for the greenfield airport in Hollongi (in Papum Pare district near Itanagar) on February 9 and then he would address a public meeting.

An official of Arunachal Pradesh’s Information Department said that the Prime Minister would also inaugurate and lay the foundation stones of several infrastructure projects through remote control system.

The projects included retrofitting of a small airport at Tezu in Lohit district, a 110 MW hydro electric project and other projects relating to Doordarshan.

Modi would reach Agartala the same day (Saturday) where he would unveil a statue of Tripura’s late king Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya at the airport and inaugurate an extended railway line and open an academic building of the Tripura Institute of Technology.

The union government in July last year had renamed the Agartala airport after Maharaja Bir Bikram Kishore Manikya (1923-1947) as a tribute to the last ruler of the erstwhile princely state.

In 1942, the king constructed the airport, which played a crucial role in the Second World War.

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The Agartala airport, earlier known as Singerbill Airport, is located 20 km north of the capital city and sits along the Bangladesh border.

An official release said the Agartala airport is the second busiest airport in the northeastern India and provides crucial air connectivity in the region linking Kolkata and other major airports in the country.

He will also address a public gathering at the Swami Vivekananda Ground in the capital city.

Tripura Chief Minister Biplab Kumar Deb told the media that a record number of people from across the state would attend the Prime Ministrer’s public gathering here.A

This is Modi’s second visit to Tripura after BJP-Indigenous People’s Front of Tripura (IPFT) alliance government assumed office on March 9 after trouncing the Communist Party of India-Marxist led Left Front government in the February 18 assembly polls.A

During the visit, tribal parties, including the IPFT, are likely to submit a memorandum to Modi demanding withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

However, the opposition tribal parties led by Indigenous Nationalist Party of Tripura (INPT) are holding a series of meetings to chalkout their strategies during the Prime Minister’s visit.

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INPT General Secretary Jagadhish Debbarma told IANS that the tribal parties, excluding the IPFT and CPI-M’s Tripura Rajya Upajati Ganamukti Parishad, would conduct some agitational programme in support of their several issues including withdrawal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

Political analyst Sekhar Datta said that amidst agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in several northeastern states, specially in Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram and Tripura, Prime Minister’s visit to the region is very significant.

“Prime Minister during his visit to the northeast, first time after the outbreak of the agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, might give a message that his government is always for the welfare of the people of the region,” Datta told IANS.

Elaborate security arrangements have been made in view of the Prime Minister’s visit to Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.

Large contingents of central paramilitary forces besides state forces have fanned-out in both the states besides Assam’s main city of Guwahat.

–IANS

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