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Lull in BJP before storm on edge

Citizenship Bill

GUWAHATI, May 28: Lull in the State BJP before the storm seems to be on the edge with a few from the party making outbursts on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 against the party’s avowed stand. Such outbursts are coming at a time when the party has been feeling the impact of the stringent statewide protests against the Bill.

Maybe, the precarious situation which the party has been in amidst protests against the Bill has compelled a BJP MLA making a statement in public that ‘a conspiracy has been hatched against Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’. MLA Rituparna Baruah made this statement on Sunday in public, that too, in the presence of the Chief Minister. The moot question is: if there is at all any conspiracy against the Chief Minister, what could be the reason behind it?

Be that as it may, Sonowal has been following a middle course on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, taking utmost precaution not to hurt the sentiment of the people of the State. What runs counter to Sonowal’s stand is the path chosen by another section of BJP MPs, ministers and MLAs in the State. Taking a hardstand on the Bill, they make statements which literally provoke the indigenous people of the State to take to the streets against the Bill. The Chief Minister is in troubled waters because of such stringent protests. There are some in the State who are inclined to say that the hardliner BJP leaders are out to fish in troubled waters which the Chief Minister has been in.

How come MLA Rituparna Baruah makes such a statement is public, if he is not backed by others from behind? This is what some others wrack their brains. Is the beleaguered MLA a frustrated man at the intensity of the protests against the Bill?

What is glaringly visible in the protest against the Bill is: it’s more stringent in upper Assam than in lower Assam. What does it smack of? The BJP MPs in upper Assam seem to have experienced their footholds rattled in the protests against the Bill. They hardly go to places in their respective constituencies these days. Advocates of the Bill, according to a section of political pundits, have their eyes set on some lower Assam and Barak Valley constituencies where the demography is tilted towards the Muslims. By giving settlement to Hindu Bangladeshis in those constituencies they want to score a political mileage.

However, running counter to such optimism the BJP leaders in upper Assam feel that in the event of passage of the Bill, the BJP will have to lose more seats than gainining them. Some party MLAs from upper Assam have already made it clear that they are going to quit as MLAs in the event of the passage of the Bill.

Be that as it may, what is going on in the State on the controversial Bill is set to make Sonowal lose his sleep. According to sources, he has already informed the authority concerned at the Centre of the public’s mood in Assam on the Bill.