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Mahanta prod to govt on Act rethink

Ex-CM hails Kerala resolution on CAA
Prafulla Kumar Mahanta speaks at the news meet on Sunday.

A Staff Reporter   |   Guwahati   |   Published 05.01.20, 10:06 PM

Former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Sunday hailed the Kerala Assembly’s resolution seeking repeal of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, while asking the Centre to revisit its decision to implement the law given the growing opposition.

Mahanta, who has been vocal against CAA, said both Delhi and Dispur need to rethink and address the public anger.

“The Kerala Assembly has taken a unanimous resolution against the Act. Many other states have also sent their notes of dissent to the Centre against the law. Moreover, protests against CAA are no longer limited to Assam or rest of the country but people from all over the world are expressing their opposition. The government must respect the public opinion and revisit its decision to implement the law.”

The Kerala Assembly recently passed a resolution against CAA, the first state to do so. Earlier, AICC general secretary in-charge of Assam, Harish Rawat, too, had said no Congress-ruled state will implement CAA. Congress is in power in Punjab, Rajasthan, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Puducherry.

“The amendments brought to the Citizenship Act are illegal and completely violate the Assam Accord. It’s unconstitutional and that’s why many groups and individuals have already knocked on the Supreme Court’s door demanding scrapping of the law,” Mahanta said.

In an oblique statement, Mahanta said, “A BJP minister is trying to mislead the people by spreading wrong information against the Assam Accord and me. It’s possibly because I have been opposing it from the beginning.”

On Saturday, finance minister Himanta Biswa Sarma accused Mahanta of betraying the 860 martyrs of the Assam Movement and agreeing to accept 1971 as the cut-off year instead of 1951. Sarma said Mahanta had agreed to sign the Accord only to become the chief minister.

He also said people from Mahanta’s constituency, Barhampur, will reject him in the next Assembly polls in 2021. “Let 2021 come, we will see who wins Jalukbari seat,” Mahanta retorted. Sarma represents Jalukbari constituency.

Mahanta also expressed his dismay over the decision of AGP parliamentarians to vote in favour of CAB (as the act was known when it was a bill) and said it was unfortunate. He said the AGP as a party had already made its opposition against CAA clear and sticks to it.

The regional party has been facing public anger as three of its legislators, party president Atul Bora, working president Keshab Mahanta and AGP Legislature Party leader Phani Bhusan Choudhury, continue to hold on to their ministries in the BJP-led state government, while its general secretary, Birendra Prasad Baishya, voted in favour of CAB in the Rajya Sabha.

On Sunday, Atul Bora and Keshab Mahanta were shown black flags by All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) activists when they were going to attend a party meeting at Barpara ground in lower Assam’s Bongaigaon town.


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