Guwahati: Bogged down by excessive criticism, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) on Friday said that they have written a letter to the Union home minister Amit Shah demanding that the Centre should ensure constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people of the state before bringing in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
This stand on CAB has created division within the rank and file of the party as senior leaders Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, Brindaban Goswami and Ramendra Narayan Kalita were absent from its emergency meeting.
Three AGP legislators, Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury, ministers in the BJP-led state government, have been accused of maintaining a “dubious” stand on the Bill while party seniors are opposing it.
Bora, who is also the party president, called an emergency meeting of party leaders and decided to send the letter to Shah.
After the meeting, Legislator and Assam water resources minister Keshab Mahanta said that their letter sought Constitutional safeguards for the indigenous people before bringing in CAB, including 100 per cent reservation for them in government jobs, Assembly and MP seats from the state; inner-line permit (ILP) system and Scheduled Tribe status for six communities —Sootea, Muttock, Moran, Koch Rajbongshi, Tai Ahom and tea tribes. The regional party’s demands also include reserving 100 out of 126 Assembly seats for representatives belonging to the indigenous communities. Party insiders, however, feel that the move has come very late.
“The party leaders, especially those in the government, could have taken concrete steps to stop the bill. But they kept silent. Now, they are merely trying to avert criticism,” one of them alleged. They demanded a change of guard in party leadership....