The BJP has 62 seats in the 126-member Assembly, while coalition partner Bodo Peoples’ Front has 12.
Guwahati: Amid the ongoing political rambling over the Citizenship Amendment Bill and the regional Asom Gana Parishad withdrawing support from the BJP-led government, the Opposition Congress has appealed to Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal to quit the saffron party with the MLAs loyal to him.
Veteran Congress leader Debabrata Saikia said: “Mr Sonowal himself and many BJP MLAs have said in the past that they will never support any cause which is detrimental to Assam or the Assamese people. Since a large section in Assam is opposed to the Citizenship Bill, Mr Sonowal (and) his supporters should quit the BJP.” Mr Saikia, who is also Leader of the Opposition in the Assam Assembly, said: “We are willing to support a Sonowal-led government, from within or outside, if the chief minister takes up our offer.”
The Congress move came soon after an embarrassing development for the ruling BJP, in which Assembly Speaker Hitendra Nath Goswami said: “The decision to pass the Citizenship (Amen-dment) Bill 2016 in the Lok Sabha was an act in haste, which was done without taking the indigenous people of Assam into confidence.”
A former AGP leader, who joined the BJP just before the 2016 Assembly polls, he went on saying: “The waves of incidents centred around the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 here in (the) past few days have touched me personally. While holding a constitutional post, along with my personal hopes, it is my duty to show respect to my country’s democratic system.”
Mr Goswami, who was also considered the think tank of regional narratives, added: “I think the Central and state governments would give respect to views and opinions expressed by the people of Assam and adopt immediate and appropriate measures to resolve the present unrest in the state, which was created after Lok Sabha passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill without taking the people of Assam into confidence.”
There have been speculation that a large number of BJP legislators who migrated to the party just before 2016 polls are also under pressure from their earlier ancestral organisations like students’ bodies and regional forces to quit the BJP and mount pressure on the government to withdraw the Citizenship Bill, which is awaiting the Rajya Sabha’s approval.
The BJP has 62 seats in the 126-member Assembly, while coalition partner Bodo Peoples’ Front has 12. The AGP has 14 MLAs, the Congress 24 and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has 13 members.