National

'Assam Will Turn Into Bangladesh if Citizenship Bill is Passed' : Prafulla Mahanta

HARSH RANJAN | 0
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| March 13 , 2019 , 16:51 IST

Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) decided to ally with the BJP again. Assam finance minister and BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma on Wednesday said the BJP, AGP and Bodoland Peoples' Front have already finalized seat-sharing for the Lok Sabha polls.

The former chief minister of Assam Prafulla Mahanta questioning his party’s alacrity in returning to the NDA fold despite no assurance from the Centre on the contentious Citizenship Amendment Bill.

Mahanta said, "If the Citizenship Bill is passed, Assam will be full of Bangladeshis and it will surely turn into Bangladesh."

“I have been opposing the BJP and pledging my support for the implementation of Assam Accord and protesting against Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016,” he added.

AGP leader and former Assam Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said the party did not consult him on the alliance with the BJP. "I was not aware of the alliance. I came to know about the party's decision only through the media."

"I am against the alliance with the BJP and I am firm on my stand. The party leaders have taken the decision on their own. We now have to ascertain what our district committees and grassroots workers want," said Mahanta.

He blamed the party for not making him privy to all major decision-making processes that involve the BJP and said he was kept in the dark over the possibility of an alliance.

“Even in 2016, the senior party colleagues had not shared with me the decision of forging an alliance with BJP or discussed the matter of seat sharing. They never thought I am important enough to know this,” he said.

Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats, seven of which were won by the BJP in 2014, three each by Congress and AIUDF, while one seat was bagged by an independent candidate.

BJP leader Himanta Biswa Sarma said the three ministers of AGP, who had resigned following a row over Citizenship Amendment Bill in January this year, will resume their charge on Wednesday.

Sarma said that the BJP's stand on Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 is firm. "Our stand on the Bill remains the same since the Jan Sangha days. The BJP does not think that there is a need to review the party's stand on Citizenship Bill," he said.

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"We know that the AGP has a stand on the Bill. We do not want the AGP to change their stand. However, both the BJP and AGP will continue to talk over the issue in the next few months and will find out how the Bill can be turned more beneficial for the people of Assam," he said.

"I can assure you that BJP and AGP will not have any differences over the Bill in future. The people of Assam have given a joint mandate to the BJP, AGP and BPF alliance for five years and we are going to complete the term together," he said.