The Congress on Saturday urged Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to resign from the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party and join the Opposition party instead amid protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, PTI reported, citing a local TV report.
Congress leader Debabrata Saikia, who is the leader of the Opposition in the state Assembly, proposed an alliance with Sonowal and 40 MLAs who support the chief minister.
The North East has been in a state of turmoil because of violence against the controversial draft law. 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.
“In view of the current situation in the state following the Citizenship Amendment Bill giving rise to protests here, Sarbananda Sonowal should leave BJP and come out with even just 40 of his MLAs,” Saikia said. “We will have Sonowal only as the chief minister of Assam again. We have 25 legislators in the 126-member House. We can take support from Asom Gana Parishad and other parties to form the new state government.”
The Asom Gana Parishad, an ally of the BJP, has also pulled out of the coalition earlier this week in protest against the Citizenship Bill. Three Asom Gana Parishad state ministers quit on Wednesday.
The ruling BJP has 61 members in the state Legislative Assembly, Congress has 25 and Asom Gana Parishad has 14.
Meanwhile, AGP president Atul Bora said, “If the government scraps the bill giving rise to the need to discuss the issue in our party forum and depending on the need of the political situation...we may reconsider our alliance with BJP.”