A scuffle broke out Saturday between Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) workers and protesters belonging to various outfits over the party's alliance with the BJP for the upcoming general elections, police said. A few people escaped with minor injuries in the incident that happened in front of the AGP headquarters at Ambari, they said.
Several people, who claimed were ordinary citizens, had gathered in front of the AGP office on Saturday. When a group of AGP workers came out of the party office to disperse them, a scuffle followed in which a few women protesters received minor injuries. Security forces, however, quickly brought the situation under control.
Protests against the AGP entering into a fresh alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has evoked widespread resentment among people, including a section of the AGP's leaders and members, who are opposed to the alliance. Party members had locked the AGP office in Jorhat on Friday as protests raged on in various districts across Assam.
Former Chief Minister and AGP's founding president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has opposed the alliance with the BJP over the citizenship bill issue. The decision to realign with the BJP was made by a handful of leaders of which he was not a part, Mahanta had claimed.
Mahanta had also said that the saffron party intends to bring in the Citizenship Amendment Bill if they return to power after the polls. The AGP had snapped ties with the BJP in January this year with three of its ministers tendering their resignation when Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh made it clear that the citizenship bill will be passed in Lok Sabha.
The Bill was, however, not tabled in the Rajya Sabha. A protester in front of the party headquarters said that people from all over the state belonging to several movement groups are opposing the AGP-BJP ties. "The AGP had earlier cleared their stand over the contentious Bill and snapped ties with BJP but the recent development is quite confusing," he said.
Another woman protester alleged that the AGP leaders have betrayed the party by taking such a decision for personal gains. The AGP and BJP sealed their alliance again on March 12 with the three ministers from AGP - Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phanibhushan Choudhury - resuming their duties the next day. Lok Sabha polls in Assam will be held in three phases on April 11, 18 and 23 in 14 Parliamentary constituencies.
(With inputs from agencies.)