Guwahati, India (BBN)-As BJP sets its eyes on the upcoming assembly polls in 2016, leaders of different tribal and indigenous communities have started reminding the saffron party to demonstrate its commitment by curbing illegal influx from Bangladesh.

They want a permanent solution to the insurgency problem, scheduled tribe status for six ethnic groups.

Flood and erosion should be treated as national problems construction of big dams be stopped, reports The Times of India.

Union minister of state for sports and youth affairs Sarbananda Sonowal on Friday here has embarked on a mission to feel the pulse of tribal and indigenous ethnic communities to know their expectations from the Narendra Modi government.

A day-long interaction is also an attempt by BJP to build up a close rapport with leaders of the community, understand their problems and take up their issues with the Centre.

Sonowal, however, emphasized that the interaction has nothing to do with any election. He said his intentions were to understand the issues plaguing the tribal and indigenous groups so that the Centre can initiate measures to fulfill their aspirations.

“There are many problems in the state which are unique. Today, the tribal and indigenous communities are facing existential crisis because of problems like influx. The purpose of the interaction is to understand the problems and take up the issues with the Centre,” Sonowal said.

Political observers said Sonowal’s interactions with the community leaders have become a necessity after BJP had to face embarrassment starting with the visa-free entry to Bangladesh nationals to construction of Lower Subansiri hydro-electric project in Arunachal Pradesh.

Though both state and central BJP leaders had clarified their stands, they thought holding direct interactions with the community leaders would help in clearing the remaining confusions.

“We are very serious about solving the influx problem. The Union home ministry is seriously working on it. After the parliament session is over, Union minister of state for home Kiren Rijiju is expected to visit Assam on discussing the issue of influx,” BJP in-charge for Assam, Sudhanshu Mittal said.

On the 2,000 MW Lower Subansiri project, Sonowal, who is also state BJP president, said the Centre would not do anything before holding consultations with the stakeholders from Assam.

Different community leaders said as the state people have given overwhelming mandate to BJP in the Lok Sabha polls, the expectations from the Modi government was very high.

“Modi has promised to stop infiltration. Now we want this to happen in reality. Making Assam free from influx is crucial to safeguard the interest of indigenous and tribal people. At the same time we also want that the six ethnic groups’ demand for ST status should be fulfilled by the present government,” All Assam Tribal Sangha general secretary Aditya Khaklary said.

BBN/SS-26July14-9:50pm (BST)