Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), the ruling coalition partner in Assam, Saturday said the party is with the indigenous people of Assam and is committed to keeping the state outside the purview of the Citizenship Amendment Act.
AGP working president Keshab Mahanta asserted that the party also wants safeguards for the local people in addition to clause six of the Assam Accord that provides constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
AGP has been criticised across the state for its lone MP in the Rajya Sabha Birendra Prasad Baishya voting in favour of the Citizenship Amendment Bill after speaking against it in Parliament.
Stating that AGP wants Assam to be out of the purview of CAA like the other northeastern states, Mr Mahanta, who is also a minister in the Sarbananda Sonowal cabinet, told newsmen We have filed a petition in the Supreme Court for keeping Assam out of the purview of the Act. And we have fair chances of achieving it through this legal battle.
The party's president Atul Bora said that AGPs stand over the issue has been misinterpreted and the people of Assam can rest assured that it will never go against the interests of the Assamese people. AGP is the only regional party that has approached the top court, he claimed and appealed to the people of Assam to "observe minutely" its activities to apprehend its stand on the issue.
On being asked to clarify the AGP's stand on CAA, Mr Bora said it was the "same as before" without explaining further. Asked for his reaction to his party colleague and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahantas resentment at AGP's stand over CAA, Mr Bora said such issues must be discussed within the party first, before going public.
On talks of floating a new party by protesters against CAA for an alternative to the ruling BJP-AGP and opposition Congress, he said in a democratic country everybody has the right to do so.