BJP 'hurt' by AGP pullout, opposition parties welcome decision

File photo. Photograph:( PTI )

PTI Guwahati, Assam, India Jan 08, 2019, 09.12 AM (IST)

The BJP Monday expressed sadness over its ally AGP deciding to break the partnership over the Citizenship Bill, saying the regional party had "fallen into the Congress trap".

While opposition Congress welcomed the AGP's decision, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) proposed to form a united platform taking along the regional party to fight the "communal and divisive" politics of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) invited the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to join the ongoing agitation against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.

The Congress and the AIUDF also lashed out at senior minister Himanta Biswa Sarma for claiming that the state will "go Jinnah's way if the Citizenship Bill is not passed".

The proposed Citizenship Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

BJP Spokesperson Rupam Goswami said, "We have not got any information officially. The alliance with the AGP was made by our national president (Amit Shah), so I think only he will be informed."

"We are definitely hurt seeing it on TV because we did not want them to leave the alliance. We got a hint that they have fallen into the Congress trap," Goswami told PTI.

Another alliance partner, the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF), did not come out with any official reaction, but its MLA and Social Welfare Minister Pramila Rani Brahma termed the AGP's decision as "correct", adding that it was her personal view.

"The party (AGP) was born for the cause of the indigenous people and cannot go against them. Responding to peoples' call, it has withdrawn the support," she said.

Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi of the Congress said the AGP should join hands with other parties to protest against the bill.

"We should forget all our differences and aim towards fighting against the bill," he said

Though the Congress leader ruled out any "political equation" with the help of the AGP.

On Sarma's Jinnah comment, Gogoi said it reflected the communal politics of the minister.

However, state Congress president Ripun Bora accused the AGP of carrying on with the alliance for the "sake of power" and noted that the damage to the state had already been done.

"The AGP left the alliance when no alternative was left. They stayed for so long only for the sake of power. The decision is too late as the damage has already been done," Bora said.

Had the AGP not partnered with the BJP, the saffron party would have not bagged so much seats in the assembly election and formed a government in the state, he added.

AIUDF spokesperson Aminul Islam said, "We now hope that we can form a united opposition front, including the Congress, the AGP, the BPF and the Left to fight the communal and divisive politics of the BJP."

The AIUDF legislator also criticised Sarma asserting that Muslims who supported Jinnah went to Pakistan during the partition and those who stayed back in India were opposed to his politics.

Meanwhile, All Assam Students Union (AASU) General Secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said, "The AGP became power hungry. It is unfortunate that they realised it so late. Along with AGP, now we appeal all political parties to come out and join the protest (against the Citizenship Bill)."

The Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) too said that it was time for all parties against the bill to unite and find an alternative to communal politics.

"Talking about Jinnah at this time is deliberately done to polarise the society before the polls. By doing so, he (Sarma) is trying to spread the communal agenda of the RSS," KMSS adviser Akhil Gogoi said.

Story highlights

BJP ally AGP decided to break the partnership over the Citizenship Bill on Tuesday. BJP alleged that the regional party had 'fallen into the Congress trap.'