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Will go with people's mandate: BJP

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  26 Dec 2017 12:00 AM GMT

Citizenship Amendment Bill

By our Staff Reporter

GUWAHATI, Dec 25: The BJP says it is accountable to people’s (here Assam voters) mandate, not a section of citizens who have been putting pressure on the AGP to pull out of the ruling coalition at Dispur. The AGP, on the other hand, says it is accountable to the people of Assam, not to the BJP. Even as both the statements sound alike, there is a gulf of difference between their respective stands on the Citizenship Amendment Bill. This is how politicians play on words.

Talking to the media at Atal Bihari Vajpayee Bhawan in Guwahati on Monday, State BJP president Ranjit Kumar Dass said: “We’re accountable to the mandate which the people of Assam have given us. Making poll promises, including poll manifestos, we’ve made it crystal clear that we, if voted to power in Assam, are bound to provide constitutiol safeguards to interest of the indigenous people of Assam. We did make another promise during the polls that we would provide Indian citizenship to minorities in the neighbouring countries in the event of their immigration to India under religious prosecution. We’ve come to power at Dispur with both these promises, and as such we’re bound to respect both the assurances. Injustice to any of the two promises is tantamount to not respecting the mandate we've been given by the voters. Should one go against the mandate? Should we?”

On the reported pressure of pulling out of the ruling coalition at Dispur which the AGP has been under, Dass said: “The AGP reached an electoral understanding with us taking everything into account, including our poll promises on the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord and Indian citizenship to minorities entering India under religious persecution from neighbouring Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Now if the regiol party is under pressure from a section of citizens asking it to pull out of the ruling coalition at Dispur, it is up to them. AGP president Atul Bora is in touch with Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal every now and them. He, however, never raises the issue of his party pulling out from the ruling coalition in the State. Why? It has been glaring that efforts are on to blow the issue up so as to get the negative impact much deeper than actually is. It is made to believe that the sky is falling down even as the Citizenship Bill is a long-drawn issue that has just been initiated now. The Joint Parliament Committee is yet to take the opinion of parties and organizations in Assam, Tripura and West Bengal. We haven’t yet said our say on the issue. It’ll take much more time by when we’ll get ample time to get the issue discussed with the AGP.” When reporters wanted to know as to what would be his party’s stand on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, Dass said: “We’ll go by people’s mandate given to us in Assam.”

Reacting to a query from a number of reporters if it will not be tantamount to violation of the Assam Accord, Dass said and shot back: “All Accords and Act are man-made. Why don’t you raise such a question for the violation of the Assam Accord by the powers that were by not doing anything to deny Bangladeshis who had entered Assam between 1961 and 1971 voting rights in Assam in accordance with the Assam Accord? Wasn’t that a violation of the Accord? What will be your response to the citizenship of Rabhas, Bodos and Garos living in Bangladesh? If they come to India under religious persecution from Bangladesh, should India deny them Indian citizenship so as not to violate the Assam Accord? They’re all indigenous people of undivided India.”

Dass further said: “The Citizenship Amendment Bill is introduced in the Parliament that has its ramifications all over India, not Assam alone. There’s no opposition to the Bill elsewhere in India, barring Assam. Assam can at best say that it is not ready to stagger under the additiol burden of foreigners who are likely to get Indian citizenship in the event of the passage of the Bill. How can Assam oppose it?”

Dass said: “The Congress is playing double standard in Brahmaputra and Barak Valleys. They accept Jawharlal Nehru as their idol. I’ve a letter from Nehru to Gopith Bordoloi on the Liaquet Pact. I’ll make the letter public someday and see how Congress leaders react to that.” Misinformation, according to Dass, is also being emated on the framework agreement on the proposed galim.

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