AGP Walks Out of NDA Over Citizenship Bill, BJP Loses Another Ally Ahead of 2019 Lok Sabha Elections
AGP president Atul Bora (Photo credit: Twitter)

Guwahati, January 7: Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an ally of the BJP in Assam, on Monday walked out of the National Democratic Alliance over the Citizenship Amendment Bill, 2016. The AGP also withdrew its support from the BJP led government in Assam. The Assam-based party snapped ties with the BJP after a meeting with union home minister Rajnath Singh turned futile.

"We have met almost everyone including the Joint Parliamentary Committee, President, Prime Minister and requested them to scrap the bill but unfortunately that didn’t happen," AGP president Atul Bora said. The Citizenship Amendment Bill, which has been cleared by the union cabinet, will grant citizenship to minority communities from Afghanistan, Bangladesh, and Pakistan after six years of residence in India, instead of 11.

In the 126-member Assam assembly, 61 legislators belong to the BJP, 14 to the AGP and 12 to the BPF. It means the AGP pulling out does not seem to pose a threat to the government. Earlier, BJP allies Shiv Sena and JD(U) also announced to vote against the Citizenship Bill. Citizenship Bill Divides NDA, Shiv Sena, JD(U) to Vote Against Amendment.

Large sections of people in Assam and other northeastern states have been protesting against the bill, saying it would nullify the 1985 Assam Accord under which any foreign national, irrespective of religion, who had entered the state after 1971 should be deported.

The fresh bill seeks to amend the Citizenship Act 1955 to grant Indian nationality to people from minority communities — Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians — from Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan after six years of residence in India even if they don’t possess any proper documents.