Protesters demand scrapping of Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 I Photo credit: PTI  |  Photo Credit: PTI
Dispur/New Delhi: As BJP faces a coup from its allies and even its state units in the North-east over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, Congress has moved in with an offer for Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal which he might find difficult to refuse in the backdrop of massive protests in the state over the controversial bill. Congress leader Debabrata Saikia on Saturday asked Assam CM Sonowal to quit its alliance with the BJP and form and join hands with Congress to form the government.
“In view of the current situation in the state following the Citizenship Amendment Bill giving rise to protests here, Sarbananda Sonowal should leave BJP and come out with even just 40 of his MLAs,” Sakia who is the leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly was quoted by PTI as saying.
“We will have Sonowal only as the chief minister of Assam again. We have 25 legislators in the 126-member House. We can take support from AGP and other parties to form the new state government,” he added.
Earlier, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) withdrew from the alliance with the BJP and three of its minister tendered resignations on Wednesday (January 9) two days after their party quit the alliance. The three AGP ministers who resigned today are – AGP president and Agricultural Minister Atul Bora, Water Resources Minister Keshab Mahanta and Food and Civil Supplies Minister Phani Bhushan Choudhury.
Assam witnessed massive protests against the bill even as demonstrators blocked roads and in some parts of the state stripped and marched on the roads. Students from more than 15 colleges and two state-run universities boycotted the classes for an indefinite period protesting the passage of the Bill in the Lok Sabha.
BJP-dominated Lok Sabha or Lower House of the Parliament on Tuesday passed the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which seeks to give citizenship to immigrants of all faiths barring Islam from Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Bangladesh after six years of residence in India. North-eastern states especially Assam which borders Bangladesh and the states of Manipur and Mizoram continue to witness heavy protests.
Meanwhile, AGP said it will come back to the BJP fold if the Centre scraps the Bill. The disquiet in the northeast over Citizenship Bill: What’s driving the protests