Why PM wants to celebrate NDA’s third anniversary in Guwahati

The plan to kick-off celebrations of the third anniversary of the Modi Government in Guwahati on May 26 is not a mere coincidence. PM Narendra Modi has set his eyes on several birds

Photo by Ujjal Deb/Hindustan Times via Getty Images
Photo by Ujjal Deb/Hindustan Times via Getty Images

Abid Shah

Guwahati is planning to celebrate the third anniversary of Prime Minister Modi’s coming to power at the Centre on May 26. And sources say, reasons for this honour coming to Assam’s capital are not one or two but quite a few.

No less than five countries—China, Bhutan, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar—are strewn around to form the immediate neighbourhood. So, Guwahati is considered to be ideal location to lend credence to a catchphrase like the ‘Gateways Beyond’. South Block appears to prefer it over what was once the ‘Look East’ policy since the times of late PV Narasimha Rao.

The recently launched SAARC satellite bolsters the idea that takes one beyond the narrow confines of national boundaries and the events billed at Guwahati would find an echo on the ground across the borders on May 26 when the Prime Minister addresses an audience in neighbouring countries that had also witnessed the SAARC Games soon after he became Prime Minister.

The then Sports Minister at the Centre is now the chief minister of Assam. The Olympics that followed SAARC Games missed similar treatment though and the country fared poorly at Rio while the sports minister, Sarbananda Sonowal pitched for the top post of the state and, so, got busy in strategising to win Assam Assembly polls instead.

The sharp dart aimed at polls in Assam while playing to the world gallery has since become sharper. This was borne out by events after Manipur Assembly polls’ results a couple of months ago. Neighbouring Tripura is going to polls next year and it is also very much there on Modi’s radar. PM’s pointsman and BJP president Amit Shah has already made a two-day trip to the tiny state. Mopping up more and more clout in states with so far weak BJP footprints is another idea.

So, the destination this time is Northeast with an obvious eye upon the next general elections that are still two years away. The region has a little over two dozen Lok Sabha seats that the ruling party at the Centre would like to wrest in 2019 polls, say BJP sources.

And, last but not the least, Sonowal completes a year in office as chief minister on May 24. So, the anniversaries of state and Central governments almost coincide. Thus, Guwahati has turned out to be the ideal state capital to host a gala show and mark the twin anniversaries.

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Published: 12 May 2017, 2:31 PM