AGP manifesto silent on CAA, vocal on Assam Accord

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 24: Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally of BJP-led government in Assam, skipped off controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) from its election manifesto, which was released here on Wednesday in the run up to the first phase of election slated on March 27.

The manifesto focused on 23 ‘action plan’ for solutions to all burning problems of the state, including flood and erosion, unemployment, education, health care and identity crisis.

“We are waiting for the Supreme court judgement on CAA. We will take legal steps on the basis of its judgement,” AGP leader and Rajya Sabha member Birendra Prasad Baishya said while releasing the manifesto.

When asked about BJP’s manifesto which talks of implementation of CAA, Baishya said, “It is a political matter. But we will take legal action on the basis of SC judgement.”

“Full implementation of Assam Accord is our party’s first and main aim and duty. We are committed to the safeguard of political, economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous people as per the Clause 6 of Assam Accord,” the manifesto said.

As per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.

The party promised to enact a law to free agricultural land from illegal immigrants and sought to implement the suggestions by the committee for protection of indigenous land.

“We will continue to pressurise the Central government to detect and deport infiltrators on the basis of the Assam Accord. The National Register of Citizens should be completed on the basis of Assam Accord,” the manifesto said.

It said unemployment is a burning problem of the state and promised to create job opportunities but refrained from giving any figure on the number of jobs to be generated.

On Tuesday, the BJP manifesto skipped its earlier promise of implementation of the Clause VI of Assam Accord.

While asked about the party’s stand on CAA, BJP president JP Nadda on Tuesday said, “CAA has been passed by Parliament. It is to be implemented and it will be implemented in letter and spirit.”

The AGP advocated for Sixth Schedule benefits for the tribal communities, who are not living in the Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council (KAAC), North Cachar Hills Autonomous Council (NCHAC) and Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).

The manifesto also talked of solutions to the foreigner’s issue, economic development, farmers’ development, unemployment, flood control, development of language and culture, education, health, special schemes for elderly people and specially-abled individuals shall remain the prime commitments.

“AGP will pressurise the government to complete the updation of National Register of Citizens (NRC) in Assam,” the manifesto said.

BJP on the other hand said that if it comes to power, it would prepare a ‘correct NRC’.

The manifesto also stated special emphasis to tea tribes of Assam and other backward classes including women and child protection through various government schemes.

The party claimed that despite being a partner with BJP, AGP had never failed to protect the interest of Assam and its indigenous people. AGP though had opposed CAA initially; the party chose to avoid talking on the topic gradually.

AGP has also witnessed a complete division inside the party with party veterans like Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and many constantly rejecting the CAA and accusing the party leadership of allying to BJP ideology.

AGP would be fighting the upcoming state polls once again with its ally BJP. The party while contesting from the NDA alliance in 26 seats will also contest against its ally in five seats of Naharkatiya, Lakhimpur, Patharkandi, Palasbari and Kamalpur.

AGP had won 14 out of 24 seats it contested in 2016. AGP has three ministers in the Sonowal cabinet.

 

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