Sarma accuses the AGP leadership of committing historic blunder by signing the Assam Accord that gave citizenship to one crore Bangladeshis
GUWAHATI: In a statement that could possibly impact the ensuing panchayat polls, as well as continuity of the AGP-BJP alliance government in Dispur, State Finance, Health and PWD Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Sunday, said the AGP has no moral right to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.
Addressing a press conference at the State BJP headquarters here on Sunday, Sarma said even though the BJP has nothing much to say against other organizations opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the party cannot remain silent if the AGP opposes the Bill.
“Instead of 1951 as the cut-off year for detection and deportation of illegal Bangladeshis from Assam, the AGP leadership signed the Assam Accord agreeing 1971 as the cut-off year. The AGP leadership could have signed the Assam Accord in 1979. But they signed the Accord in 1985 instead of 1979 because of their vested interests. Around one crore Bangladeshis could manage to get Indian citizenship owing to the Assam Accord and historic blunder committed by the AGP leadership. Now how could the same party oppose the Citizenship Bill that seeks to provide citizenship to Hindu Bangladeshis,” Sarma said.
Sarma, who is considered as the most influential minister in the BJP-led alliance government in Dispur and key election strategist of the BJP in the Northeast, said the party has not talked about the AGP’s historic blunder that it committed by signing the Assam Accord in public for the sake of maintaining the principles of running an alliance government. “But we’re extremely concerned about many AGP leaders and MLAs who are attacking the BJP on the issue of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill during the ongoing campaigns for the next month’s Panchayat polls in the State,” he said.
Sarma alleged that AGP MLA from Naharkatia Naren Sonowal, during the ongoing panchayat election campaign, has hinted that his party might have tacit understanding with the Congress in the ensuing rural polls only to oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. Demanding an inquiry to find out as to what led Naren Sonowal Sarma to make such a statement in public, Sarma said that the AGP, despite being an alliance partner, has been embarrassing the BJP at different platforms, now during the election rallies on the issue of the Citizenship Bill.
“Now it is time to expose the AGP so that it cannot mislead the voters. I have spoken the truth about the AGP. If my statement offends the AGP and they decide to break the alliance, I have nothing much to say. Our common enemy is the Congress and the AIUDF and the AGP leadership must understand this equation,” Sarma said. He asserted that the BJP will win the panchayat polls convincingly.
Sarma said fundamentalists and vested interest groups are fuelling the anti-Citizenship Bill movement with an aim to divert the people’s attention from the ongoing claims and objection exercise of the NRC update. He said a few Muslim organizations who raised hue and cry over the NRC update, have become silent after the State witnessed movement against the Citizenship Bill. He said the NRC authorities have so far received very few objections against possible inclusion of names of illegal foreigners in the complete draft NRC.
The minister also rejected reports that a section of youths of Assam recently joined the ULFA (I) after they were frustrated over the Centre and State Government’s stand on the Citizenship Bill. “It’s not true that the youths have joined the ULFA to oppose the Citizenship Bill. If such is the case we will withdraw the Bill in case ULFA chief Paresh Barua abjures violence and comes over ground. There are other reasons, including economic ones, for some youths joining the militant outfit,” Sarma said.
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