The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) today mulls ties with the BJP after the Himanta Biswa Sharma fire of yesterday and started a crucial meeting at its headquarter from 1130 hours.
Mr. Sharma directly provoked AGP to quit alliance on the Citizenship Bill, forcing not only AGP in a piquant position but his boss and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
If AGP gees out of alliance, numerically BJP will continue to be the majority as the other partner BPF has 13 seats beside two other from smaller parties. The BJP has 61 seats in the 126 member assembly. However exit of AGP will increase the headache of Sonowal.
Not only he is being increasingly projected as someone not in control of both the affairs of the state, but this could be the beginning of the long awaited assault of Himanta Biswa Sharma against Sonowal. Mr Sharma had unsuccesfuly fought a similar battle in Congress against tarun Gogoi and came out of the party.
Earlier the rift between the BJP and its ally AGP became apparent on Sunday when BJP leader and Assam health minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said the AGP has no moral right to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
The bill, which envisages granting citizenship to minorities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan who entered India without valid documents in order to escape persecution, has been a bone of contention between the two parties with the BJP pushing for it while the AGP opposing it.
Sarma, who is also the convener of North East Democratic Alliance (Neda) — a platform of the BJP and its allies in the Northeast — said it was because of the AGP leaders, who had signed the Assam Accord, that 1971 was pegged as the cut-off year for detection and deportation of illegal migrants from the state instead of 1951 as in the rest of the country.
“It was because of the Assam Accord that at least 1 crore illegal migrants in the state have been legalised as Indian citizens, which resulted in demographic changes in the state. After that, the AGP has lost its moral right to oppose the citizen bill,” Sarma said.
He said in 1979 the then Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and the then Assam governor L.P. Singh had offered the Assam Agitation leaders to make 1971 the cut-off year for detection and deportation of foreigners but they rejected it because of which 900 people became martyrs. “But in 1985 they accepted 1971 as the cut-off year. If they had accepted the same proposal in 1979, so many people would not have died,” Sarma said.
He also took strong exception to a section of AGP leaders and MLAs attacking the BJP while campaigning for the panchayat polls.
Sarma said recently Naharkatia AGP MLA Naren Sonowal had hinted at a tacit understanding between the AGP and the Congress for the panchayat polls. “We are concerned about this development,” he said.
“We had requested the AGP for a friendly contest in the panchayat polls with an aim to defeat the Congress and the AIUDF, who are our common enemy. We may have differences on some issues but it should not affect our alliance. I hope the AGP leadership will condemn Naren and take action against him,” Sarma said.
The fierce attack of mr Sharma not only put AGP off guard but also the majoritry of the BJP as it was perceived the attack on the BJP was a shot at Chief Minister Sonowal.