GUWAHATI, JANUARY 15: After stepping out from the BJP-led alliance Government in protest against the passage of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Lok Sabha, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is now contemplating on fighting a legal battle to scrap the controversial Bill.
The regional party has also asked its grassroots cadres to sensitize the people across the State about the contents and the danger inherent in the Citizenship Bill. The Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
AGP president Atul Bora, who recently tendered his resignation from the post of Cabinet minister in the BJP-led Government, told The Sentinel on Sunday that his party is not power hungry and cannot compromise with rights and interests of the indigenous people of Assam just for the sake of remaining in power.
“For the AGP, the top priority is interest and identity of Assamese people and Assam Accord. We cannot let sacrifices of more than 860 martyrs of the Assam Movement go in vain. We have already quit the BJP-led Government against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. If necessary we will seek legal recourse to scrap the Bill. We will fight a legal battle,” Bora said.
Bora said many people in villages in the State are still not aware of the contents and danger of the Bill.
On January 6, the AGP withdrew its support to the ruling BJP in Assam after the AGP leaders were told by the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi that the Centre would ensure passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.
The AGP, which came into existence in 1985 after a 6-year-long Assam agitation against alleged illegal infiltration from Bangladesh, was twice in power in the State. After losing several elections in the recent years, the regional party aligned with the BJP for the Assembly elections in 2016.
While infiltration of foreigners from Bangladesh remained the core issue for the alliance during the 2016 Assembly polls, the AGP had made its opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill clear even then, saying it does not distinguish between Hindu and Muslim Bangladeshi immigrants. AGP president Atul Bora even wrote to BJP chief Amit Shah, saying the party will have no alternative but to “repudiate the existing alliance” in case of such an eventuality.
On Sunday Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury had an interaction with grassroots workers of the party at Kaliabor and discussed future strategies to oppose the Citizenship Bill. (Courtesy: The Sentinel)