Reconsider withdrawal: BJP tells ex-ally AGP

Reconsider withdrawal: BJP tells ex-ally AGP

BJP General Secretary Ram Madhav addresses a press conference regarding upcoming Lok Sabha Election at state BJP office, in Guwahati, on Thursday. PTI

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav on Thursday appealed to the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to reconsider its decision on withdrawal of support from the Assam government.

He, however, said the BJP was committed on passing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, over which the AGP withdrew its support on January 7 from the two-and-half-year-old government.

“We got the mandate in Assam as an alliance and we want to complete the five-year tenure with the AGP. So resignations of three AGP ministers have not yet been sent to the governor and we again appeal to the AGP to reconsider its decision,” Madhav told reporters here.

The regional AGP walked out of the alliance a day before the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha. But the bill is pending in the Rajya Sabha. “AGP should not be rigid about the bill. Let me assure them that it will not be against the interest of any state,” he said adding that the party was expecting that it would be passed in the next budget session without any opposition.

AGP president Atul Bora, however, said the party would reconsider its decision only if the bill was withdrawn.

Northeast erupted in protest as the bill seeks to offer citizenship to non-Muslim migrants from Pakistan, Bangladesh and Afghanistan, who had migrated to India due to "religious persecution", after a stay of six years. Indigenous people fear that they would be reduced into a minority if "large Hindu illegal migrants" already living in the region are given citizenship. They demand implementation of the Cause V of Assam Accord (1985) that promised detection, deletion and deportation of illegal migrants with March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date.

When asked about opposition to the bill by BJP’s allies in the Northeast, Madhav said, "We will talk to them and assure that their concerns will be taken care of.”

He said the government was committed to protecting indigenous identity and so formed a committee to implement Clause VI of Assam Accord that includes legislative safeguards to indigenous people.

 
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