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Governor muddies political waters in Assam

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As Assam gears up for the 2016 Assembly polls, there are hints that the Bangladeshi immigration issue may be the key focus of the elections. With Congress insiders talking about the possibility of a tie-up with Badruddin Ajmal’s All India United Democratic Front and the BJP’s newly appointed State chief Sarbananda Sonowal hinting at an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad , the State may see a polarisation around the issue.

Tempers have already risen in the State with the Congress hitting out at Governor P. B. Acharya for having reportedly said that “Hindustan is for Hindus” and that there was “nothing wrong” in “Hindu refugees” coming here. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has asked the Centre to recall Mr. Acharya, a former BJP leader, saying that he would work more as an “RSS pracharak” when the State goes to polls next year.

The Governor's clarification that anyone persecuted could seek refuge in India also sparked controversy when he reportedly said Muslims were free to go anywhere, including Pakistan and Bangladesh.

BJP sources say that the immigration issue is going to be a key issue in the State. While “Bangladeshi immigration” has been a key issue for the BJP and the AGP, Mr. Ajmal has carved out a vote bank among Bengali-speaking Muslims. Polarisation seems inevitable as the BJP has tended to see Muslim immigrants as “infiltrators” and Hindu immigrants as “refugees”. “This is going to be a major issue in Assam, irrespective of whether Hindutva worked in Bihar. This is a core commitment of the BJP in Assam,” said a central BJP leader.

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Printable version | Jan 28, 2020 3:48:23 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/governor-muddies-political-waters-in-assam/article7906136.ece

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