National

Quit BJP and form an alternative anti-CAA government, Congress tells Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal

Debabrata Saikia.

Debabrata Saikia.  

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CAA opponents want focus on rights and aspirations of Assam’s indigenous communities

The Congress in Assam has offered to help Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal form an alternative “anti-Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA)” government, if he quits the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) led by perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has shown interest in being a part of such an alternative arrangement.

Leaders of the All Assam Students’ Union and other organisations behind the ongoing protests against the CAA had almost a fortnight ago floated the idea of forming a “political alternative” to the BJP, its ally the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), and the Congress. The idea was to have a party that concentrated on the rights and aspirations of Assam’s indigenous communities.

‘BJP stranglehold’

The Congress, almost immediately, offered to back such an alternative party. But on Saturday, Opposition leader in the Assam Assembly, Debabrata Saikia, asked Mr. Sonowal to “come out of the BJP stranglehold” with 30 MLAs.

“The Chief Minister has been fighting against his conscience while obeying his BJP masters. He should leave the party with 30 MLAs in view of the anger of the people in Assam against the CAA. We will support him in forming an anti-BJP government so that he can continue as the Chief Minister,” Mr. Saikia said.

“We are ready to back any government that is anti-CAA and anti-BJP,” said Mr. Ajmal, the chief of AIUDF and the party’s lone Lok Sabha member.

The BJP has 61 legislators in the 126-member Assam Assembly. Its regional allies are the AGP (14 legislators) and the Bodoland People’s Front (12 legislators). The Congress has 25 and the AIUDF 13 lawmakers. The House has a lone independent member.

Protests continue

Protests, initially violent, leading to the death of six people in police firing and arson, erupted mainly in central and eastern Assam after the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was passed in the Rajya Sabha on December 11. The voices against the CAA have grown louder since the Union Home Ministry issued a gazette notification saying the law will come into force from January 10.

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Printable version | Jan 29, 2020 1:42:50 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/quit-bjp-and-form-an-alternative-anti-caa-government-congress-tells-assam-chief-minister-sarbananda-sonowal/article30550180.ece

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