GUWAHATI: Amidst the widespread protests in Assam against Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), Opposition Congress has made an offer to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to come out of the ruling BJP and lead a non-BJP coalition government.
“We urge him to come out of the BJP. If an alternative government headed by him is formed, the Congress will extend its support to it,” Leader of the Opposition Debabrata Saikia told journalists.
Sonowal had once hogged the limelight and earned the title of “Jatiya Nayak” (national hero) after the Supreme Court, based on his PIL, had in 2005 struck down the Illegal Migrants’ (Determination by Tribunal), Act that was allegedly heavily tilted in favour of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants. He has now turned a villain in the eyes of people for his government’s endorsement of CAA which will grant Indian citizenship to “persecuted” non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who migrated till December 31, 2014.
“He can come out as an independent MLA. Other MLAs with nationalistic feelings and background in All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) may also join him. If that happens, a non-BJP and anti-CAA government will be formed. Congress will support Sonowal as its CM,” Saikia said.
He said as the BJP had failed to fulfil its commitment on ridding Assam of the immigrants, the BJP MLAs should desert the party after raising a banner of revolt on the failure.
The minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) too said it was ready to support a non-BJP and secular alternative coalition government. AIUDF chief and Lok Sabha member, Badruddin Ajmal, said he would not mind if the Congress is a constituent of the alternative government.
A political alternative with the formation of a new party was first proposed by popular singer Zubeen Garg. At a rally against CAA in Guwahati in December, he had made a call for it. The idea was instantly backed by the apolitical AASU which said, “We are thinking in that direction”.