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Citizenship Bill: Congress asks Assam CM Sarbananda Sonowal to resign, form new government with it

New Delhi, News Nation Bureau | Updated : 13 January 2019, 12:16 AM
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.

As tension escalates in the Northeast over Citizenship Amendment Bill, which was recently passed by Lok Sabha, Congress leader Debabrata Saikia on Saturday asked Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal to resign from the BJP and form a new government with his party's support. Meanwhile, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) said it may restore its alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party if the Bill is scrapped. "In view of the current situation in the state following the Citizenship Amendment Bill giving rise to protests here, Sarbananda Sonowal should leave the BJP and come out with even just 40 of his MLAs," Saikia, the leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly, said in Guwahati.

"We will have Sonowal only as the chief minister of Assam again. We have 25 legislators in the 126-member House. We can take support from AGP and other parties to form the new state government," said the Congress leader.

The current 14th Assembly has 61 BJP, 25 Congress, 14 Asom AGP, 13 AIUDF, 12 Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) and one independent MLA.

Meanwhile, the AGP, which had snapped ties with the Sonowal government on January 7 over the Centre introducing and passing the Bill in Lok Sabha, hinted at restoring its ties with the saffron party in the state, while speaking with reporters in Golaghat.

"If the government scraps the bill giving rise to the need to discuss the issue in our party forum and depending on the need of the political situation...we may reconsider our alliance with the BJP," said AGP president Atul Bora said when asked if his party would renew its alliance with the saffron party.

"Cannot say anything now till the Bill is dropped. We will observe their activities and as of now take a wait and watch stand," he added.

Bandh in Northeast states against police firing in Tripura

Firing and lathicharge by security forces to quell protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in West Tripura district earlier this week triggered 'bandh' in large parts of the northeastern state Saturday.

Agitators in neighbouring Assam and Mizoram too joined the stir against the bill that aims to provide citizenship to illegal migrants of Hindu, Sikh, Buddhist, Jain, Parsi or Christian extraction from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan.

On Tuesday, the day the bill was passed in Lok Sabha, seven people were injured in Madhabbari area of the district when police and the paramilitary forces resorted to lathi-charge and fired in the air to disperse protesters.

Normal life was crippled during the dawn-to-dusk bandh on Saturday in Tripura Tribal Areas Autonomous District Council (TTAADC), which comprises two-thirds of Tripura's territory and is home to tribals who constitute a third of the state's population.

(With PTI inputs)

First Published: Saturday, January 12, 2019 11:58 PM
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