GUWAHATI: All three ministers of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and six MLAs of the party, who were serving as heads of various corporations in Assam, resigned on Wednesday. Ministers Atul Bora, who is also AGP president, Keshab Mahanta, who is the party's working president, and Phani Bhushan Choudhury met Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and tendered their resignation papers.
When the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was tabled in Lok Sabha on Monday by a Joint Parliamentary Committee, Bora had announced in Delhi that the AGP would pull out of the Sonowal government. The AGP and the BJP had aligned ahead of the 2016 Assam elections.
The alliance and the resultant seat-sharing understanding had helped them oust the 15-year-old Tarun Gogoi's Congress government. The AGP was born out of the six-year-long bloody anti-immigrants' agitation of early 1980s spearheaded by the All Assam Students' Union and as such, there was no question of the party endorsing the Citizenship Bill.
The AGP was under tremendous pressure from various quarters to pull out of the government and as such, it tried its best to dissuade the BJP from passing the Bill but the saffron party stuck to its guns. Meanwhile, a united front of 70 organisations, opposed to the Bill, has decided to prevent the carriage of Assam's natural resources to places outside the Northeast and spearhead a civil disobedience movement from Thursday. It has appealed to students to boycott classes.
The students have already started boycotting classes in two universities and some colleges. The anti-Citizenship Bill protests were staged at various places even on Wednesday.
In Guwahati, the protestors, who were demonstrating outside the state secretariat, were dispersed by the police and paramilitary forces. Given the fraying of tempers against the Bill, the state government is beefing up security. On Wednesday, the government appointed retired IPS officer RK Pachnanda as the security advisor to the CM.