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Issue is Bill, not alternative government: AGP

Our two MPs were on record tearing the land-swap deal with Bangladesh in the Rajya Sabha. We don’t have any MP now, and hence the onus of tearing the Bill lies with the parties that have MPs… We can’t accept anything that goes against the Assam Accord. If the Bill gets its passage in Parliament, we’ll be compelled to pull out of the coalition at Dispur – Atul Bora

GUWAHATI, June 5: The AGP has made it crystal clear that the paramount issue for the party now is total dismantlement of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, and not formation of an alternative government at Dispur as rumours abound.

Of late, talks and thoughts have kept flowing in from Leader of Opposition Debabrata Saikia, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora and other Congress leaders on the possibility of forming an alternative government at Dispur minus the BJP. They have said the AGP too should come out of the coalition at Dispur to join the alternative government.

Talking to the media on Tuesday on the possibility of an alternative government at Dispur, AGP president Atul Bora said: “The most important issue at hand is foiling the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, not forming an alternative government at Dispur, for the people’s mandate in the State is with the three-party coalition. Despite being part of the government, we’re opposing the Bill tooth and nail within the government and outside it. We oppose the Bill at all government forums and our party opposes it outside. We’ve met the Prime Minister and expressed our reservation on the Bill.

We’ve also met the Union Home Minister many a time opposing the Bill. We’ve met the Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) twice, once in New Delhi and once in Guwahati. We’ve registered our strong opposition to the Bill in the recently held NEDA conclave in front of BJP’s national president Amit Shah. We’re clear in that we oppose the Bill both at the government level and at the party level. Raising the Bill at the recently held cabinet meeting is a pointer to this. Now we’re carrying out a signature campaign against the Bill for collecting 50 lakh signatures. From June 7 we’re going to start another protest against the Bill – Shankhanaad (blowing of conch shell) – from Bongaigaon.”

Purportedly targeting the Congress, Bora said: “The Assam MPs opposing the Bill should be vociferous against the Bill in Parliament instead of shouting in Assam. When we had MPs, our two MPs were on record tearing the land-swap deal with Bangladesh in the Rajya Sabha. We don’t have any MP now, and hence the onus of tearing the Bill lies with the parties that have MPs.”

Terming the Assam Accord as his party’s other agenda, Bora said: “The Assam Accord has much to do with the three-party coalition in Assam getting the people’s mandate. We can’t accept anything that goes against the Assam Accord. If the Bill gets its passage in Parliament, we’ll be compelled to pull out of the coalition at Dispur.”