Monday, 30th October 2017

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Assam's BJP govt should quit as AGP has pulled out, says Mahanta

The former chief minister said the government was formed on basis of a pre-poll alliance

  • Published 9.01.19, 12:29 AM
  • Updated 9.01.19, 12:29 AM
  • a min read
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Prafulla Kumar Mahanta addresses the news conference in Guwahati on Tuesday. UB Photos

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) founding president and a signatory to the 1985 Assam Accord Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Monday said the BJP-led government in the state should morally resign because it came to power following a pre-poll alliance.

Welcoming the decision of the party leadership to snap ties with the BJP-led government on Monday afternoon, Mahanta said it was a coalition government in Assam, not a BJP one.

“The government in Assam was formed in 2016 on the strength of a pre-poll alliance involving the BJP, AGP and BPF, on the promise of protecting jati, mati and bheti. On its own BJP was not in a position to form the government,” Mahanta, a two-time former chief minister and AGP MLA, said.

Given the background on how the incumbent government was formed in Dispur, Mahanta said the BJP-led government should morally resign and seek a fresh mandate.

“Legally, they can stay but people had voted for the alliance. Therefore, they should morally take responsibility and resign for developments related to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, which is a threat to Assam and violates the Assam Accord,” Mahanta said.

Though the AGP (14) has withdrawn from the government, BPF (12), the other ally, and an Independent, are supporting BJP (61) in the 126-member House.

For simple majority, the BJP needs the support of 64 MLAs.

The tripartite Assam Accord signed in 1985 to end the six-year-long Assam Movement against influx, was signed in the presence of then Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi by the movement’s representatives — AASU’s Mahanta (then president), Bhrigu Kumar Phukan (then general secretary), and Biraj Sharma, general secretary, All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad, Centre’s representative R.D. Pradhan, then Union home secretary and Assam chief secretary P.P. Trivedi.

The former chief minister also asked the Centre to share figures of how many persecuted Hindus or Sikhs have entered India till December 2014.

“If they can’t then why did the BJP-led Centre push the bill?” he asked.

Mahanta also took a dig at cabinet minister Himanta Biswa Sarma’s reported statement that the Assam Accord had no legal validity.

“If that is so then why did he head the Assam Accord implementation department when he was in the Congress? And why is there a Assam Accord implementation department in the state?” Mahanta asked.