Immediately after tendering their resignation from the Assam Cabinet on Wednesday, the three Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) ministers went to the AASU office and paid obeisance at the "Sahid Vedi" (memorial) there. Arriving at the All Assam Students Union (AASU) office 'Sahid Niyas', Agriculture Minister Atul Bora, Water Resources Minister Keshav Mahanta and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phanibhushan Choudhury paid tributes to the 855 martyrs of the anti-foreigners Assam Movement (1979-1985).
Bora and Mahanta used to lead the AASU as students in the past. The ministers then held a meeting with the AASU leadership, including its chief adviser Dr Samujjal Bhattacharya.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Bora said, "We are with the people of Assam and will join in their struggle to protect their interests at any cost. The AGP was formed by the blood of martyrs who sacrificed their life to protect the existence and identity of the Assamese people. We cannot disrespect their sacrifice by remaining in power when the Centre decided to go ahead with the Citizenship Amendment Bill." "The Centre's obstinacy not to withdraw the bill forced us to take the decision to come out of the government as we cannot go against the interest of the Assamese people."
Guwahati: Asam Gana Parishad (AGP) leaders including Atul Bora leave after tendering resignation as state Ministers to Assam CM Sarbananada Sonowal. AGP quit that BJP-led Assam Govt in protest against #CitizenshipAmendmentBill. pic.twitter.com/oQ1jzIBVvq— ANI (@ANI) January 9, 2019
The three had tendered their resignation to Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal two days after the party pulled out of the BJP-led coalition government in the state over the bill.
The Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2019 was passed in the Lok Sabha on Tuesday. Briefing the mediapersons, Bhattacharya said, "We are happy they came to our office. We reminded them that the AGP was responsible for taking forward the main cause of the Assam Movement for which 855 people sacrificed their lives, many became disabled due to bullet injuries, women were raped."
The AGP pulled out of the state government after its "last-ditch attempt to convince" the Centre to withdraw the proposed legislation failed on Monday. The withdrawal of the AGP, which has 14 MLAs in the 126-member assembly, will not have any immediate effect on the future of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government that still has the backing of 74 MLAs.
The BJP has 61 members and the party has support from 12 MLAs of the Bodoland People's Front and the sole Independent member.