Assam: AGP snaps ties with BJP over Citizenship Bill differences

AGP decided to snap ties with the BJP over the Citizenship Bill, which they say will make the Assam Accord “meaningless”.

Guwahati / New Delhi

The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Monday, walked out of its alliance with the BJP in the northeast state, over the  Citizenship ( amendment )Bill 2016.

Just after few minutes after union cabinet approve the Citizenship ( amendment )Bill 2016, the AGP has announced its decision.

The party decided to snap ties with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) over the Citizenship Bill, which they say will make the Assam Accord “meaningless”. AGP has remained firm on its stand to not allow any immigrants into the territory, irrespective of their religion.

AGP on Monday announced its decision to break up with the BJP after the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) submitted the Bill before the Parliament.

Soon after Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced that his government is planning to push the Citizenship Bill, protests broke out across Assam on Saturday, with effigies of PM Modi being burnt at several places.

Several indigenous organisations in the state have been opposing the bill as they believe it would harm their cultural identity.

AGP president Atul Bora announced the decision after a meeting with Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

“We made a last ditch attempt today to convince the Centre not to pass the Bill. But Singh told us clearly that it will be passed in Lok Sabha tomorrow. After this, there is no question of remaining in the alliance,” Bora said in New Delhi after meeting the home minister.

Meanwhile, Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal on Saturday asked the people to keep calm as the state government would never do anything to harm their interests.

Ahead of its decision to quit the alliance, pressure had been mounting on AGP.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 was introduced in the Lok Sabha to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955 to grant Indian citizenship to Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who fled religious persecution in Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan and entered India before December 31, 2014.

Another BJP ally Shiv Sena voiced support for AGP’s decision to snap ties with the saffron party on Monday.

MP Sanjay Raut said, “We’re also opposing the Citizenship Amendment Bill. Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leaders met Uddhav ji and explained everything. It’s not just a Hindu-Muslim thing, Assam has its own culture and demography and this Bill would change that, which may again create a civil war-like situation.”

On Sunday, BJP chief Amit Shah issued a veiled warning to all allies, particularly Shiv Sena, and said that if no alliance happens for the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will crush its ex-allies like its opponents.

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