New Delhi, Aug. 12 (ANI): Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi on Sunday said that he would not have any objection if the Central Government decides to grant separate statehood to Bodoland, but looks forward to talks with Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to sort out the issue.
"Till today I have not discussed it but I am open to it, neither am I opposing it.... If the Government of India decides (to create Bodoland), I have no objection," Gogoi said.
Gogoi has maintained that he wants the ethnic minorities of the state to stay together, even though he is open to discussions regarding separate statehood.
"We want to live together just like a joint family but (we want to discuss) the genuine grievances and sort it out," Gogoi said.
Saying that he wanted to meet the Prime Minister and discuss the issue, Gogoi said that though the Congress Working Committee's announcement to create Telangana has revived the demand for Bodoland statehood, the demand itself is an old one.
"The demands have been going on for a long time. . ... the moment they announced (Telangana), it triggered off. The demand has been going on, it is not that this is a new one. As you know, most of the insurgency groups also have been demanding for a separate state," Gogoi added.
On August 9, the Assam Chief Minister had urged ethnic minorities to unite and rejected demands for separate statehood.
"I am not going to divide Assam. We all need to live together. Stop bandh culture and go for work culture. When we are one, the others will fear to break us up," said Gogoi.
"We may be Rabhas, Bodos, Karbis, Chutias, Gorkhas (ethnic communities) or minorities. But we all need to live together as Assamese under one umbrella in the state of Assam from Sadiya to Dhubri," he added.
The All Bodo Students' Union (ABSU) that has been crusading for separate statehood for Bodos has set August 13 as the deadline for tripartite talks with the Assam Government and the Centre on the issue.
ABSU Vice President Jibon Basumatary led a delegation of the outfit's functionaries for a meeting at Dispur on Wednesday, in response to an invitation from the Assam Chief Minister.
The All Bodo Students' Union ( ABSU) had earlier called for a 60-hour shutdown in Assam to press its demand for a separate Bodoland state.
The demand for Bodoland gained ground following the Centre's nod for the creation of a separate state of Telengana. (ANI)