AGP withdraws support to BJP

One more BJP allies, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), today quit the NDA. The crucial partner that helped the BJP to gain power in the major North Eastern state, Assam for the first time last year, has been expressing disappointment with BJP since some time.

Now, it left the BJP-led coalition in Assam against a controversial bill that seeks to give citizenship to minorities of Bangladesh. AGP chief Atul Bora today made this announcement in New Delhi, after meeting Home Minister Rajnath Singh.

The AGP’s exit, however, does not present any immediate danger to the survival of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led BJP government in Assam. The BJP has 61 MLAs in the 126-member Assembly and enjoys the support of the Bodo People’s Front (BPF) which has 12 MLAs.

“We made a last-ditch attempt today to convince the Centre not to pass the Bill. But Rajnath Singh told us clearly that it will be passed in Lok Sabha tomorrow. After this, there is no question of remaining in the alliance,” Bora said.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Friday had said his government will try to get the Bill passed in Parliament soon. “It (the Bill) is connected to the emotions and lives of people. It is not for the benefit of anyone but a penance for the injustices done in the past,” Modi said at a rally in Assam’s Bengali-speaking Barak Valley, where voices demanding the controversial Citizenship Amendment Bill are the loudest.

The assurance had riled the AGP which prompted the party’s leadership to reach Delhi to meet Home Minister Rajnath Singh. AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had warned that the party would withdraw support to the state government if the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 is passed.

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