GUWAHATI /NEW DELHI: Hours after a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) report on the Citizenship Amendment Bill was tabled in Parliament, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) announced that it was withdrawing support to the BJP in Assam. AGP president Atul Bora announced party’s decision after meeting Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi.
“We told the home minister that the Bill will violate the Assam Accord and likely to hinder the National Register of Citizens (NRC) process. We made a last ditch attempt to convince the Centre, but he told us that it will be passed in the Lok Sabha tomorrow. After this, there is no question of remaining in the alliance,” said Bora.
The break up could hurt the BJP, especially in upper Assam where Assamese identity becomes a major poll issue every election.In the 126-member Assam House, the BJP (61) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) (12) together have 73 MLAs. The AGP has 14, Congress-25, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF)-13 and Independent-1. There are no differences whatsoever between the BJP and BPF over the Citizenship Bill.
The AGP is the latest regional party after the TDP and the RLSP to sever ties with the BJP. Other allies, Shiv Sena and Apna Dal have already expressed unhappiness and threatened to quit the NDA.The relationship between BJP and AGP had been on the rocks for the past few months following differences over the Citizenship Bill .Meanwhile, AGP leader and two-time former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said, “The party had taken a decision some time ago. We will go ahead with our agenda opposing this Bill”.
Political Storm in Assam over The Citizenship Bill
The Citizenship Amendment Bill seeks to grant citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Parsis and Christians, who fled Bangladesh, Pakistan, and Afghanistan in the face of religious persecution and migrated to India before December 31, 2014.
Assam has been up in arms against the government’s attempt to push the Bill.