The situation of the Bharatiya Janata Party over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 issue takes one back to the problematic decade (90s) of the Indian test cricket when the team had good medium pace bowlers including Javagal Srinath and Venkatesh Prasad. The problem with the team was the bowlers who were inconsistent in their performance even in helpful conditions.
It is the same case here in Assam over the Bill issue that people have been experiencing for the last three years specially.
Former All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leader and present Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who was conferred with the title of ‘Jatiya Nayak (national hero)’ for his heroic role in denouncing the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) (IMDT) Act, 1983, has failed to maintain consistency in his performance for the greater cause of Assamese community.
The AASU conferred the title on the then member of Lok Sabha Sonowal when the Supreme Court struck down the IMDT Act in 2005 as a verdict of the Sarbananda Sonowal vs Union of India Case.
Has the journey from pressure group (AASU) via AGP (regionalism) to BJP (Hindutva politics) changed his spirit too to work for greater cause of the land, language and culture?
The prevailing furore and tension across the state over the Bill has raised a question whether Sonowal’s political career will turn into pile of ashes or he will save the ‘ship’ from sinking and protect the Assamese community.
Now, the ball is in Sonowal’s court.
Sonowal has faced severe criticism for his role on the Bill issue. He often made statements before media that the government would not go against the interest of the indigenous people. But, his stoic silence in the matter outraged the people.
Protesters waved black flags, artistes raised voice by singing, activists of different organisations and opposition political parties burnt effigies of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chief Minister Sonowal, protesters stripped naked in the national capital, people tonsured their head and many more protests in different forms were staged against the Centre’s move to bring in illegal migrants by implementing the Bill over the last three years of BJP’s rule in the state.
The Bill is considered as the BJP’s blunder ahead of the 17th general election.
The curious point is how Sonowal will move ahead. Will he be able to save the indigenous people of the state and provide constitutional safeguard by implementing the historic 1985 Assam Accord? Will he and his government be able to detect and deport the illegal migrants that entered after 1971? Will the Sonowal government be able to prevent infiltration problem? Will the government be able to seal the Indo-Bangla border?
These are the questions to be answered by the ‘Jatiya Nayak’ as early as possible; otherwise people will not hesitate to take away the tag and throw it in the bin.
The views expressed by the author are personal and may not in any way represent those of TIME8.