A day after pulling out of the Bharatiya Janata Party-led government in Assam over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, the Asom Gana Parishad on Tuesday demanded the resignation of Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and dared the saffron party to face fresh polls.
The Sonowal government has no moral right to continue and if the BJP has the courage, it should face fresh election, senior AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said.
“The BJP-led government was formed in Assam on the basis of a pre-poll alliance with the AGP. As this alliance no longer exists now, we demand that the current Assam government be dissolved,” Mahanta told reporters.
Accusing the BJP of adopting an anti-Assam policy, Mahanta said, “Let the BJP form a new government alone. We will welcome that”.
Withdrawal of the AGP, which has 14 MLAs in the 126-member assembly, would not have any immediate effect on the future of the Sarbananda Sonowal-led government that still has the backing of 74 MLAs.
The BJP has 61 members and the party has support from 12 MLAs of the Bodoland People’s Front and the sole Independent member.
The opposition Congress and the All Indian United Democratic Front have 25 and 13 members respectively.
“The BJP won many seats in the assembly elections (in 2016) only due to the AGP. The AGP protested against the bill ever since it was proposed,” the AGP founder said.
The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 was passed in Lok Sabha on Tuesday even as an Assam and North East region bandh was called against it.
The AGP on Monday withdrew its support to the ruling BJP-led coalition government after its “last-ditch attempt to convince” the Centre to withdrew the proposed legislation failed.
Mahanta, the leader of the Assam Agitation, a popular movement against illegal foreigners that lasted for six years between 1979 and 1985, said, “If the decision (to pull out) was taken earlier, people’s anger and disappointment with the AGP would have been less.”