The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Monday announced its decision to snap ties with the BJP over the Citizenship Bill. “We have met almost everyone including the Joint Parliamentary Committee, President, Prime Minister and requested them to scrap the bill but unfortunately that didn’t happen. As we were part of the government, we tried our best to stay with the government. But we have realised that the BJP government is bound to pass the bill. After meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh, we are sure about that,” AGP president Atul Bora announced after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh in Delhi.
The Bill seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan. The decision followed an AGP delegation's meeting with Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi, who asserted that the government will ensure its passage in Lok Sabha on Tuesday, Bora said.
"We made a last ditch attempt today to convince the Centre not to pass the Bill. But Singh told us clearly that it will be passed in Lok Sabha tomorrow. After this, there is no question of remaining in the alliance," Bora said.
The announcement followed AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta's statement in Guwahati that the party would withdraw support to the government in the state if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in passed by Lok Sabha. The Bill seeks to amend Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities -- Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians -- from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India instead of 12 even if they don't possess any proper documentation. The Bill has been opposed by a large section of people and organisations in the Northeast.
The Congress, Trinamool Congress, CPI (M) and a few other parties have been steadfastly opposing the bill claiming that citizenship can't be given on the basis of religion and that it is unconstitutional.
(With PTI inputs)