New Delhi, February 3, 2019
A delegation of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) led by party president Atul Bora called on Union Minister for Home Affairs Rajnath Singh on February 3rd, 2019 and demanded scrapping of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. At least 11 allies of the Bharatiya Janata Party, all belonging to the Northeast, met Singh and reiterated their strong opposition to the Bill.
“We met Union Minister Singh today. We discussed in details about the situation in Assam, Northeast, sentiments of people over the Bill. Union Minister has given due importance to our concerns which we raised in the meeting. He said that the government is aware of the protests in the Northeast over the Bill,” said Bora.
Keshav Mahanta, working president, AGP said, “Union Minister Singh assured that the government will respect the sentiments of the Northeastern people.”
It may be recalled that on January 29th, 2019, a total of ten political parties of the Northeast including the Janata Dal (United) convened a meeting in Guwahati to clarify their stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and also to appeal to the Central government to scrap the legislation. The delegation will also meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
The AGP withdrew their alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party in Assam after the saffron party went ahead with the controversial Bill in the Lok Sabha on January 8th, 2019. AGP president and Assam Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, Assam Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta, Assam Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury tendered their resignations on January 9th, 2019.
Ram Madhav, BJP general secretary in-charge of the Northeast, on January 17th, 2019 asked the AGP leaders to reconsider their decision over their resignations while addressing media persons in Guwahati. He also said that the Bharatiya Janata Party is reaching out to the allies who have expressed concerns over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
He also stated that interest of each state will be taken care of. “Some concerns over the Bill are genuine. The BJP will meet dissenting the MLAs and other party leaders to convince them about the government’s intentions. We will also persuade the NEDA members on the Bill,” Madhav said.