- Asom Gana Parishad has now decided to approach the Supreme Court
- AGP is part of the BJP-led Assam government, has 3 ministers
- Several leaders have quit AGP, BJP over amended Citizenship Act
A key BJP ally in the northeast, which had supported the amended Citizenship Act, has now decided to oppose it. The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) announced its stand on Saturday after a crucial meeting attended by senior party leaders. The party has now decided to approach the Supreme Court against the contentious law.
The party leaders have also decided to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah over the matter. The AGP is part of the BJP-led Assam government headed by Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and has three ministers in the state cabinet.
"The party decided to file a petition challenging the implementation of the Citizenship (Amendment) Act. Party president will lead a delegation to Delhi to meet Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah and we will press them not to implement the Act in Assam," AGP spokesperson Zoinath Sharma told NDTV.
The Asom Gana Parishad had extended its support to the amended Citizenship Act in parliament but the move had led to dissent in the ruling alliance with many party functionaries resigning from their posts saying that the state leadership had failed to gauge the mood of the people against the new law.
Senior BJP leader Jagadish Bhuyan, who was also the chairman of Assam Petrochemicals Limited, resigned from the party and his post on Friday.
Assamese superstar Jatin Bora, who is also chairman of the state's film finance development corporation, resigned from the BJP on Thursday in protest against the amended Citizenship Act, which promises Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from neighbouring countries. "I don't accept CAB. My identity of Jatin Bora is because of the people of Assam and I am with them on this issue," he said. Mr Bora, who recently acted in the hit film "Ratnakar", had joined the BJP in 2014.
A few days ago, another popular actor from the state, Ravi Sharma, had also quit the BJP. Several members of the Assamese film fraternity have voiced their opposition to the bill and have come out in protest against it.
The northeast, particularly Assam, where three people have died after thousands descended on the streets in defiance of a curfew, has witnessed violent protests since the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was cleared by parliament on Wednesday and became an Act the next day.
The agitation has also spilled to West Bengal, where protesters have continued to block road and disrupt rail services despite both Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee and Governor Jagdeep Dhankhar appealing for peace.
The Act has been accused by rights groups and opposition parties of being discriminatory and violating the constitutional right to equality.