Will break alliance if Citizenship Bill is passed: AGP

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AGP protest rally in Guwahati

HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, Oct 23: Opposing BJP’s ‘Hindutva design’, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally of ruling BJP-led government on Tuesday declared that the party will withdraw its support from the government if the Citizenship Amendment Bill is passed in the Parliament.

Amidst 12-hour statewide bandh against the Citizenship Bill, the regional party on Tuesday organised a mass rally at Latasil Playground here to voice against the move of the Union government for passage of the bill and said it will be a big threat for identity of the indigenous communities of the state.

He said that the government should realise that the people of Assam had come out to protest against its move to endanger their existence.

In his address, former chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said that his party must withdraw support from the government for interest of the people of the state.

“In last assembly election, AGP fought against Congress with the help of BJP. After formation the government, BJP didn’t come forward to fulfill their promises, which were given to the people at the time of the election,” Mahanta said.

“In 2016, the BJP-led government was trying to pass the Bill in the Parliament. The Asom Andoolan Sangrami Mancha, which was formed by several leaders of Assam Agitation, submitted memorandum to President, Prime Minister, Union home minister opposing the bill. We are trying to send a signal to the Centre that the Assamese people are not in favour of the bill. I hope that the Centre should come forward to honour the sentiment of the people,” Mahanta also said.

In his address, AGP president and agriculture minister Atul Bora said that if the bill is passed, the AGP will break the alliance with the BJP.

“AGP is the part of the government, because that is people’s mandate. We honour the mandate of the people. We are fighting against the Citizenship Amendment Bill. We are observing the present scenario. Lastly, we met the JPC chairman and other members and urged them to visit Assam again to collect more reports. If the bill will pass, we will break the alliance,” Bora said.

The protest rally began from Latasil playground to the Chandmari. Carrying the AGP flag, placards and banners, the participants in the ‘pratibadi samadal’ (protest rally) walked through the main thoroughfare Gopinath Bordoloi Road to Chandmari to create awareness against the bill.

Party cabinet colleagues Kesab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury were part of the protest rally besides former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.

Addressing a gathering before the start of the procession, AGP president Atul Bora said the rally was called against the bill as it threatened the existence, identity, culture and language of the indigenous people of the state.

“We have already made our stand clear on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Under no circumstances, are going to support it. We will fight till the end against the bill,” he said.

Bora said the party was opposed to the bill as it “violated” the Assam Accord which was the result of a six-year long Assam agitation from 1979 against illegal migrants when 855 people died for the cause.

“We have been opposing the passage of the bill in Parliament and will continue to do so,” said another AGP MLA Satyabrat Kalita.

Other party leaders said the bill would frustrate the Assam Accord and there should not be any division of illegal migrants on the basis of religion as proposed by the bill.

Assam water resource minister Keshav Mahanta told the gathering that his party would “under no circumstance” allow the Centre to pass the bill.

“Come what may, we will not allow the Centre to pass the bill. Anything that goes against the Assamese community, we will never support it,” Mahanta asserted.

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