GUWAHATI, June 3: Now, apart from the storm over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 decried and opposed vehemently across the State, its strange offshoot – whether the issue of the Bill was raised at the last cabinet meeting held on June 1 by the AGP, or whether it was not – has taken the centrestage of politics in Assam.
The hearings by the JPC led by its chairman Rajendra Agarwala on the controversial Bill in the State last month have literally opened the can of worms. Ever since the JPC heard the Bill in the State, some BJP ministers, MPs and Union ministers from the State have started speaking in support of the Bill louder than before only to make those opposing the Bill intensify their protest further.
Despite the AGP raising the issue of the Bill in a strong way at the cabinet meeting on Friday, a section of BJP ministers made an attempt to keep the debate on the Bill in the Cabinet under the wrap. However, in the evening the cat started coming out of the bag even as both the AGP and the BJP briefed the media of their respective politically correct statements.
A few newspapers, including The Sentinel, covered both sides of the story. It was on June 2 that the AGP president stood corrected and said that he had raised the issue of the Bill at the June 1 cabinet meeting.
However, as though to make a mess of things, BJP minister Parimal Suklabaidya made a statement on June 2 that the AGP did not raise the issue of the Bill at the meeting.
Perhaps in order to make the air over the issue clear, BPF minister Pramila Rani Brahma had to intervene on Sunday and said that the Bill issue had been raised at the cabinet meeting by the AGP. Talking to the media, Brahma said: “The Bill was not in the agenda of the cabinet meeting, though it should have been because of its importance. The matter was not allowed to be discussed in detail, maybe since it was not in the agenda. However, it was pertinent to discuss the Bill since it is a very important issue. The truth is that AGP president Atul Bora did raise the Bill issue at the cabinet. I’m not trying to malign the image of the government, but I’ll have to speak the truth.”
The AGP was later allowed to raise and discuss the issue at the BJP-AGP-BPF coordination committee.