Progress, GU top Assam Cong wishlist

Guwahati, May 31 : The Congress will submit a wishlist to the Manmohan Singh-led UPA government at the Centre that will include a special development package for the backward regions of Assam and upgrade of Gauhati University into a full-fledged central university.
A meeting of the Assam PCC office-bearers has been convened tomorrow morning at Rajiv Bhawan to discuss, debate and finalise the wishlist.
The meeting will try to push certain requests in the first 100-day agenda of the UPA-led government, which got down to business after the much-awaited expansion of the council of ministers yesterday.
The other issues to figure in the list would be the early completion of the five bridges over the Brahmaputra and a second road-cum-rail bridge over the river in Guwahati.
Assam PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita told The Telegraph here today that there would be both short-term as well as long-term development programmes to be included in the list to be placed before Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, a Rajya Sabha MP from Assam.
“A lot of things will be discussed and finalised in the greater interest of the state though a special package and development of infrastructure both roads and bridges will figure prominently in our list to be submitted to the Manmohan Singh government. The final shape will emerge only tomorrow but we have very high hopes from the UPA government,” Kalita said.
The PCC’s wishlist and Dispur’s stress to ministers to concentrate in the rural belt and weed out corruption from welfare schemes show the party is going all out to best its rivals in the 2011 Assembly poll race.
Kalita, himself a Rajya Sabha member, also said a thorough discussion on the party’s performance in the recently concluded Lok Sabha elections will be taken up at the PCC executive next month.
The Congress won seven of the 13 seats it contested in the state, two less than what it had won in 2004. The AUDF and alliance partner BPF, party insiders admit, hurt the Congress’s prospects.
PCC sources said the non-inclusion of more ministers from the state might be discussed in tomorrow’s meeting. “But the party line is clear... There could be inclusion in the future and that it is not a state cabinet. The interests of the entire country needs to be seen instead of only one state. Ours is, after all, a national party,” one of them said, referring to the disappointment over allocation of ministerial berths.