Assam NRC issue: AGP threatens to pull out of NDA

NEW DELHI, AUG 11 (AGENCIES) | Publish Date: 8/11/2018 12:16:47 PM IST

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leader and former Assam chief minister Prafulla Mahanta has threatened to pull out of the coalition with BJP in the state if the Citizenship (Amendment) Act was passed by the Centre, a Times of India report stated.

AGP will pull out of BJP-led ruling alliance in Assam if the latter goes ahead with the controversial citizenship bill, Mahanta said in the course of an interview on national TV channel on Saturday. He said the Assamese people will become a minority in their own land if the government decides to pass the bill.
Referring to the 40 lakh names that did not figure in the final draft of the NRC, Mahanta expressed fears that if the bill is passed, Hindu migrants among those 40 lakh will automatically get Indian citizenship.
Maintaining that AGP’s protest against the bill as a fight for secularism, Mahanta said, “India is a secular country and citizenship should not be conferred on the basis of religion. No country in the world except Israel allows citizenship on the basis of religion and this cannot be allowed.”
Since its introduction in 2016, AGP has been protesting against the Bill which has already invited the anger of various groups in Assam, where the final draft of the NRC, aimed at identifying illegal immigrants, especially from Bangladesh, was released last month.  Having won just 14 out of 126 seats in the 2016 election, AGP is a junior partner in the Sonowal government, with three of its MLAs serving as ministers, but the party has already decided to contest the upcoming panchayat elections alone and are yet to take a call on the 2019 parliamentary elections.
But even BJP might find it difficult to win LS seats in 2019 in the state, if the Centre goes ahead with the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, as Assamese people see it as a demographic threat. TOI report also stated that there are fears of the Assamese-versus-Bengali issue re-igniting in the region.

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