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History repeats itself: Assam students float political party after 35 years to champion regionalism

The birth of the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) was announced on Monday. The Assam Advisory Committee, a panel which the students formed in August, will suggest their future course of action.

Published: 14th September 2020 04:44 PM  |   Last Updated: 14th September 2020 04:44 PM   |  A+A-

AASU leaders at a protest against CAA and NRC in Guwahati (File photo)

Express News Service

GUWAHATI: Thirty-five years after the bloody Assam agitation, students in the state have taken a full-fledged plunge into politics.

Two influential students’ organisations – All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) – came together and formed a political party to counter the ruling BJP and Congress and champion the cause of regionalism.

The birth of the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) was announced on Monday. The Assam Advisory Committee, a panel which the students formed in August, will suggest their future course of action.

Two former professors, Krishnagopal Bhattacharya and Basanta Deka, are the committee’s convenors. The AJP said it would refrain from communal politics and reach out to people with the slogan of “ghorey ghorey aami” (we are in every household).

Back in 1985, at the end of six-year-long bloody anti-immigrants’ agitation which led to the signing of historic Assam Accord, the AASU had formed the regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) that changed the face of Assam politics. The AGP had swept the polls the same year and threw up a new leader in Prafulla Kumar Mahanta. He donned the chief minister’s mantle twice but the “Bangladeshi” problem remains.

The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which the Centre passed to grant citizenship to non-Muslim immigrants from Bangladesh besides Pakistan and Afghanistan, aroused Assamese nationalism once again. That Assam needs a “political alternative” was envisaged during the height of protests against CAA last year. The AASU said the AJP was the need of the hour.

“The state government had surrendered before the Centre vis-à-vis CAA. So, it was the desire of people to have a political alternative that will not stoop to Delhi but work to protect Assam’s interests,” AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath said.

AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the implementation of the Assam Accord would be the AJP’s key agenda. It will maintain the “Assam first and will be forever” policy, he said.

AJYCP leader Palash Changmai said as all major political parties including the BJP, Congress and AGP failed to secure Assam’s future, people were looking for a political alternative. As such, the AJP was floated after wider consultations.

Assam will go to the polls early next year. Currently, the BJP heads the state’s three-party ruling coalition.



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