BJP certain of regaining people’s support
The Assam unit of the BJP is confident of winning back the hearts of the people though dissidence brews within the party over the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). Several top BJP leaders have resigned from the party. Many members of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally of the BJP, have also quit.
The state BJP, however, believes that assurance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Union home minister Amit Shah to secure the indigenous people’s constitutional rights will soon become a reality and people of the state will again support the party.
BJP spokesperson Sayed Mominul Awal said: “The BJP is a democratic party and we respect everyone’s decision. Those who left us did it willingly. The party is like the Brahmaputra and it will continue to flow, come rain or shine. We are sure to win back people’s support soon.”
After President Ram Nath Kovind gave his assent to the bill, BJP leaders like Jagadish Bhuyan, the chairman of Assam Petrochemicals Ltd, and actor Jatin Bora, the chairman of the Assam State Film Finance and Development Corporation, resigned opposing the move.
The two leaders’ move has encouraged many to follow suit. BJP insiders said the party’s grassroots workers, mostly from Upper Assam districts, had expressed resentment against the Act. Hundreds of BJP workers from Lakhimpur and Dhemaji have threatened to quit.
Bhuyan said: “As I realised that the revised act is anti-Assamese and will affect the state’s language, culture and history, I decided to quit.” On Friday Bhuyan also joined the hunger strike organised by the All Assam Students’ Union.
Echoing him, Bora added: “I am Jatin Bora because of the people of Assam. I will never support such an act that my people are opposing.”
Even senior BJP leader Hitendra Nath Goswami, also the Speaker, shared his apprehension about the Act. “As a person working for the nation and community through the Assam Agitation, I feel that the doubt created by this act is not baseless. I cannot be above the public,” Goswami added.
Former Speaker and senior BJP leader Pulakesh Baruah, too, resigned from the party on Friday. BJP legislator Padma Hazarika said he would resign if his voters asked him to do so.
BJP legislator Atul Bora claimed that his residence was attacked by goons on Friday night. State handloom and textiles minister Ranjit Dutta, too, faced the ire of the protesters in Nagaon; they showed him black flags on Saturday.
The BJP is, however, confident that the situation will return to normal within a few days and asked its karyakartas not to get disheartened.
State BJP vice-president Vijay Gupta said this after a meeting of leaders with party workers. “We are confident that things will soon return to normal. You will see the improvement by Monday.”
He added that the protests turned violent because “anti-social elements infiltrated” the protests.
State unit president Ranjeet Kumar Dass, cabinet ministers Himanta Biswa Sarma and Chandra Mohan Patowary, were among those who attended the meeting from 2pm to 5 pm.
Additional reporting by Pranjal Baruah