Former Chief Minister and Asom Gana Parishad founder-president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Wednesday opposed the alliance of his party with the BJP, saying he only came to know about it from the media and asked party leaders to reconsider the decision. "I am opposed to this alliance as AGP being a regional party should have contested the Lok Sabha polls with the aim to keep its regional character intact," Mahanta told reporters here.
The party leadership should have called for a general meeting and acted according to the decision taken there, he said. "I still hope that they will reconsider this decision and discuss the matter with the party members," Mahanta said.
The former chief minister said the decision to oppose the alliance was on several grounds. "During the campaign for the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had said that after May 2014, all Bangladeshis will have to pack their bags and leave the country but after elections it was seen that Assam's land was given to Bangladesh," Mahanta said.
The BJP government also brought in the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill through the back door via two circulars and placed it in Parliament, he said. "This Bill is against the basic principles of Assam Accord and we had opposed it to protect the interest of Assam and Assamese," he said.
The Bill will enable people from the neighbouring country to come to Assam for its geographical proximity and this will endanger the language, culture and traditions of the Assamese people, Mahanta said. "We opposed the Bill and urged political parties across the country to ensure that it was not passed. It was passed in the Lok Sabha but not in Rajya Sabha," he added.
Mahanta said he had hoped that the matter will not be raised now but BJP President Amit Shah during a rally in Lakhimpur had asserted that the party will go ahead with the Bill, if they were voted to power again at the Centre. "This reflects their rigidity and insincerity towards the Assam Accord. The BJP had come to power with the promise of fulfilling the clauses of the Accord but they are going all out to wipe out its existence," Mahanta added.
The AGP had severed ties with the BJP in January over the Bill with its three ministers -- Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhushan Choudhury, resigning from the state government. The AGP Wednesday returned to the NDA fold and will fight the Lok Sabha elections in Assam in alliance with the BJP.
(With inputs from agencies.)