New Delhi, November 1 (IANS) With less than a week to go for the Mizoram Assembly election, Congress Parliamentary Party Chairperson Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday appealed to the people of the northeastern state to vote for her party, saying the MNF and the ZPM, who claim to be independent, are, in reality, gateways for the BJP into the state.
In a video statement, Sonia Gandhi recalled her memories of the state, saying: "You all know I am sure that Mizoram occupies a very special place in my heart. I visited many times over the years. Your customs and culture, the beauty and richness of your land have left a deep impression on me. Above all I have never forgotten your warmth and affection."
"I remember with great fondness particularly the visit with my family right after the signing of the historic Mizo Peace Accord on June 30, 1986. The Accord is celebrated every year as Remna Ni."
Attacking the Central government, she said: "Today, democracy is under threat from the BJP and RSS in Mizoram, in the northeast and across India."
She accused the BJP and the RSS of neither valuing diversity, nor democracy, nor dialogue.
"They want to impose uniformity across India. In Parliament, the BJP forces through laws which weaken the rights of tribals to their lands and forests and does not even allow the Mizoram Member of Parliament to speak. In Manipur, the BJP has divided society bitterly.
"Six months of suffering have gone by, but there is no effort towards peace and reconciliation. The Prime Minister is completely silent and has not seen it fit to visit Manipur for even a few hours," she said.
About Mizoram's ruling MNF and the ZPM, she said that they term themselves to be independent.
"But are they really? No, I believe they are not. They are gateways for the BJP into Mizoram. The Congress party will never compromise with the BJP," she said.
Gandhi said that only the Congress can guarantee the development of Mizoram, empowerment for its people, and protection for the weakest in society.
"Our track record in government shows that we deliver on our guarantees — as you have seen in Karnataka, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, and Himachal. But most of all, we stand for the protection of the Mizo way of life as enshrined in Article 371-G of the Constitution of India, which is the legacy of Rajiv Gandhi," she said.
She said that this was the reason why she was making a personal appeal, especially to the youth and the women of Mizoram.
"This is no time for experiments. Please do vote for the Congress, the hand of experience and the hand of security. A vote for the Congress party is for peace, for progress and prosperity in Mizoram," the Congress leader added.
Voting for the 40-member Assembly is scheduled on November 7 and counting of votes will take place on December 3.