Three Asom Gana Parishad ministers on Wednesday quit their positions in the Assam Cabinet days after the party withdrew from its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party over differences on the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016, PTI reported. The two parties were in a coalition government along with the Bodoland People’s Front.
The bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act of 1955 in order to grant citizenship to Hindus, Buddhists, Sikhs, Jains, Parsis and Christians from Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan if they have lived in India for six years, even if they do not possess the necessary documents. The existing law states that “citizenship of India by naturalisation can be acquired by a foreigner (not illegal migrant) who is ordinarily resident in India for twelve years”.
Agriculture Minister and Asom Gana Parishad chief Atul Bora, Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phanibhushan Choudhury submitted their resignations to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal at the state secretariat in Assam capital Guwahati. Bora said his party took the decision after discussing the matter at the Asom Gana Parishad executive meet in Guwahati.
Bora said he will announce the party’s course of action soon.
The Asom Gana Parishad has 14 MLAs in the 126-member Assembly where the BJP-led government still has the support of the majority of 74 legislators. The ruling coalition currently comprises the saffron party’s 61 members, 12 members of the Bodoland People’s Front and an Independent member.
Meanwhile, the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti and its 70 ally organisations on Wednesday vowed not to let Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other Union ministers enter Assam till the Citizenship Bill was scrapped. Akhil Gogoi, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti leader, said the outfit will protest in all meetings and functions of the chief minister and BJP MLAs in the state. “We will not allow them to hold any function, be it official or non-official, in the state,” PTI quoted him as saying. “Everywhere, black flags will be shown.”