Guwahati, Apr 2: Praising the people of Assam for defeating the threat of militancy, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh today said he was hopeful of peace returning to thestate after his preliminary talks with the ULFA leadership.
The Prime Minister, who represents Assam in the Rajya Sabha, praised the people of the state for foiling attempts by militants and miscreants to disrupt the social fabric.
Referring to the peace process with the banned ULFA, he said, ''I was happy to meet the ULFA leadership in New Delhi in February. The talks were held in a good atmosphere and carry hope for the future.'' ''Talks can solve all disputes and the government is always ready to sit for negotiations with groups that abjure violence,'' Dr Singh added.
He also said the Constitution was flexible enough to accommodate the needs of all categories of people.
Harping on the slogan of peace and development in Assam during the Congress rule, Dr Singh urged the people of the state to vote the party back to power to help continue the good work.
''Ten years ago, when the Congress came to power here, the state was gripped by an economic crisis. Government employees were not getting their salary and growth was stagnant,'' he said.
''I must congratulate Mr Tarun Gogoi and his team for ensuring this turnaround of fortunes of the state,'' Dr Singh added.
He listed the various developmental projects and schemes being undertaken by the Congress governments at the state and Centre.
Appealing to the people to vote back the Congress, Dr Singh said, ''I urge the people to vote us back so that they can truly reap the benefits of the developmental works being pursued by Congress in the past 10 years.''
Congress supporters defied in hordes an ULFA-called 12-hour statewide shutdown to attend the rally.
A local bandh called by nine non-political organisations in Dhakuakhana also failed to have much impact in the turnout in the rally, though life was hit in Dhakuakhana during the double bandhs.
The organisations had called the bandh, alleging failure of the incumbent Congress MLA and state Cultural Affairs Minister Bharat Narah to work for the development of the constituency.
The Prime Minister is slated to return to the state on April 7 for campaigning.