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AGP pulls out of alliance with BJP in Assam over Citizenship Bill

Jan 7 (AZINS) The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) decided to pull out of an alliance with the BJP in Assam soon after the union cabinet approved the Citizenship Amendment Bill on Monday.

The approval came after the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) chairman Rajendra Agarwala tabled the bill in Lok Sabha. The bill is likely to be passed tomorrow in the Lok Sabha. 

The official announcement of the AGP was made by the party president Atul Bora in New Delhi after meeting the union home minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi.

The AGP had won 16 seats in the 2016 Assembly elections. AGP's withdrawal of support is unlikely to affect the state government where BJP has the maximum number of seats (60) while its ally the Bodoland People's Front also have 12 in a 126-seat assembly.

“The bill will make the Assam Accord meaningless. We were against the bill and now that it is being passed, there is no question of being an alliance partner of the BJP. We have been fighting against the bill and will continue to do so to protect the Assamese community. Unfortunately, the Centre approved the bill without even thinking about the people of Assam,” said Bora.

Bora was leading a delegation of AGP members - Keshab Mahanta, Phani Bhushan Choudhury, Ramendra Narayan Kalita and Birendra Prasad Baishya.

The AGP is an electoral ally of the BJP in Assam and also part of the NEDA (North-East Democratic Alliance).

On the other hand, Assam Congress MPs including the president Assam Congress President Ripun Bora lead a protest in front of the Parliament today demanding immediate repeal of the Citizenship Amendment Bill 2016.

Back in Assam, All Assam Students Union (AASU) and 30 other organisations put up protests against the Central government’s move to pass the Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Protestors set alight copies of the bill as a mark of protest across several places in Assam.

The Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) members stripped themselves naked in Assam’s Tinsukia to register their protest against the bill.

The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 seeks to amend the Citizenship Act, 1955, to grant nationality to people belonging to minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — in Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of their residence in India.