Rahul Gandhi during a pre-election rally in Itanagar.

Itanagar: Congress president Rahul Gandhi on Tuesday promised to re-introduce the special category status for Arunachal Pradesh and other Northeast states if his party is voted to power in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections.

Addressing a gathering at the Indira Gandhi Park in Itanagar during a pre-poll rally in Arunachal Pradesh, Gandhi said that unlike the rest of India, Arunachal and the other states of the Northeast have special needs and that is something which the Congress has always understood.

“Arunachal needs more airports, roads, hospitals and colleges. There are many problems in the region in terms of connectivity and infrastructure development. Taking this into consideration, we [Congress] had given special status to all the Northeastern states,” said Gandhi.

Besides re-introducing the special category status for Arunachal and Northeast, Congress would also re-introduce the Northeast Industrial Policy and Special Plan Assistance, Gandhi said.

He alleged that all such pro-northeast initiatives introduced by the Congress were terminated by the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), which, along with the RSS, only aims to impose a parallel way of thinking throughout the country.

“The BJP and RSS want to promote and enforce the philosophy of Nagpur all across the nation and they want to destroy the unique and special culture of Arunachal and the north east. They do this in different ways,” alleged Gandhi, while referring to the appointment of vice-chancellors in different universities of the country.

The Congress chief said that instead of handing over such coveted posts to the ones with merit, the BJP has been appointing people with an RSS mindset as vice-chancellors in universities and other educational institutions.

Talking about the scrapping of Planning Commission and the introduction of Niti Aayog, Gandhi said that the Commission used to strategically help every state of the country according to its needs.

“States like Arunachal, Meghalaya and Manipur have unique issues and the Planning Commission used to look into those issue[s] and address them accordingly and strategically. The people of Arunachal have not been able to take decisions based on their interests as everything is imposed upon them by the Centre. This trend, however, will end when Congress comes to power,” Gandhi said, adding that Congress wants the people of Arunachal to decide their own future.

The Congress chief said that no one in fact knows what the Niti Aayog is actually doing.

Election to the 60-member assembly and two Lok Sabha seats in Arunachal will be held simultaneously on April 11.

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