Congress asks Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal to form alternative government, offers support

The Congress said if Sonowal deserts the BJP with around 30 “Assam-loving” party MLAs, it would offer outside support to the alternative government.

Published: 13th January 2019 05:59 PM  |   Last Updated: 13th January 2019 05:59 PM   |  A+A-

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal. (File | PTI)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: As Assam continues to remain on the boil on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, opposition Congress has made an offer to beleaguered Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to form an alternative government with its support.

The Congress said if Sonowal deserts the BJP with around 30 “Assam-loving” party MLAs, it would offer outside support to the alternative government.

“There will certainly be some MLAs in the BJP with nationalistic (Assamese) feelings. If he (Sonowal) comes out of the BJP along with around 30 such MLAs and forms an alternative government with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the Congress will lend outside support to the formation,” Congress MLA and leader of Opposition, Debabrata Saikia, told reporters.

The BJP laughed away at the offer.

“They (Congress) are dreaming like Mungerilal (of the 1989-90 popular Hindi TV series Mungerilal Ke Haseen Sapne),” BJP spokesman Rupam Goswami told this correspondent.

He claimed the Congress was worried as the BJP-led Central government had taken an initiative to effectively implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord which would ensure more political rights and employment opportunities to the Assamese and other indigenous communities. 

In the 126-member Assam House, BJP has 61 MLAs, Congress 25, AGP 14, All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) 13, Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) 12 and Independent 1. The AGP had severed its ties with the BJP and pulled out of the government recently in protest against the Centre’s move to get the Citizenship Bill passed in Parliament. Currently, BJP and BPF are the two constituents of the state government.

Sonowal has been in the eye of a storm for some time now. He was given the title of “Jatiya Nayak” (National Hero) by the people of Assam about a decade back when based on his PIL, the Supreme Court had struck down the controversial Illegal Migrants’ (Determination Tribunal) Act or IMDT Act which was an impediment in the detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. However, now, he has virtually become a villain in the eyes of the protestors as his government endorses Citizenship Bill.

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