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Opp parties hail AGP decision to quit alliance

Protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 in Guwahati on Monday. – UB Photos
 GUWAHATI, Jan 7 - Opposition parties today welcomed the decision of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) to snap ties with the BJP, even as the saffron party claimed that there is no threat to the State government headed by it and it has the numbers in the Legislative Assembly.

 “We welcome the decision of the AGP to break ties with the BJP. We, and the people of Assam at large, have been urging the regional party to leave the alliance for quite some time. We are happy that the AGP has finally taken the step, though belatedly,” Leader of Opposition in the Assam Legislative Assembly Debabrata Saikia told The Assam Tribune.

He said that the AGP’s decision to part ways with the saffron party will strengthen the movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

“The AGP was born out of the Assam Agitation and the party claims to represent the regional sentiments of the people of Assam. The fight against the Bill will definitely gain strength with the AGP now formally parting ways with the BJP,” said Saikia, who is also the Leader of the Congress Legislature Party (CLP).

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that the BJP has become totally isolated in Assam.

“The BJP is now left with virtually no allies. The AGP should have quit the ruling alliance long ago. The BJP has been taking one decision after another against the interest of Assam, including its plan to auction off oilfields to private players and its promotion of communal politics. However, we are happy that the AGP has at last taken the ultimate decision. Public pressure has forced the AGP leadership to act,” CPI(M) central committee member Suprakash Talukdar said. He added that the agitation against the Bill is likely to further intensify in coming days following the latest development.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also said that the AGP should have acted much earlier.

“However, it has finally taken the right decision. We welcome it,” Haidor Hussain Bora, general secretary of the AIUDF, said.

Asked if the Badruddin Ajmal-led party will now join hands with the AGP for a joint fight against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, Bora said, “It is better not to go into that issue right now. For the time being we, only want to say that we welcome the AGP’s decision.”

Meanwhile, the ruling BJP said there is no threat to the government led by it on account of the AGP’s decision to pull out of the alliance.

“We have the numbers in the Assembly and there is no threat to the stability of the government,” said State BJP general secretary Dilip Saikia.

He added, “So far, the AGP leadership has not made any direct communication with our party’s State unit. They have only held talks with our central leaders. We would have preferred the AGP to remain with us for the sake of development of Assam.”

BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary also said that the AGP’s decision to leave the ruling alliance will not have any impact on the State government.

The BPF is a junior partner of the BJP in the ruling alliance.

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