Himanta says no to discussions on CAA with AASU

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HT Bureau

Guwahati, Jan 9: Assam finance minister and convenor of North East Development Agency (NEDA) Himanta Biswa Sarma Thursday said that those protesting against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) have announced they will be launching a political party, so there are no questions of holding discussions and the matter will be settled through elections.

The All Assam Students Union (AASU), which has been spearheading the protests against the contentious CAA, has hinted at launching a political party.

“What is there to discuss after they said they will launch a political party. It will be settled in the political arena only…in the EVM only. How will it be elsewhere,” Sarma said addressing a press conference here Thursday.

“When the agitation was an agitation, we had said about talks and that the doors are open for discussions. Now they are saying that they will be launching a political party and uproot the BJP. The narration has changed in the last one month. Now, we cannot put forward the ball and say hit a goal,” he added.

Sarma, the influential BJP leader of the region, said AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi has forgotten about the CAA and is devoting most his time in criticising the BJP.

“If we hold discussion under the present circumstances then I will have to say I will surrender my seat or BJP will not contest the next elections. The clause of the CAA, the protesters are against or want to talk about, does not exist now,” he said.

Stating discussions will have to be on the rules of the CAA that are being framed for safeguarding the interests of the people, Sarma said the state government held a meeting on the issue with Union home minister Amit Shah earlier in the day.

Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Sarma are scheduled to meet Union home minister Amit Shah in Delhi on Thursday night.

Sarma said, “Today we have a very important discussion with the Union home minister, not only CAA but also other measures for protecting, safeguarding our culture, language.”

Reacting over former Assam chief minister Tarun Gogoi’s ‘Hindu Jinnah’ remark, Sarma said that Hindu is secular, Hindu means Sarva Dharma Sama Bhava and a Hindu can’t be Jinnah. Gogoi recently had said that Prime Minister Narendra Modi is the Hindu Jinnah of India. (With inputs from PTI)

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