Guwahati, September 22, 2018
It is the greed for power that the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) will not pull out of the Sarbananda Sonowal government despite differences over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, which the Centre wants to pass to grant citizenship to the “persecuted” non-Muslim immigrants of Bangladesh besides Pakistan and Afghanistan.
The AGP’s stand came to the fore yet against on Saturday during a panel discussion on the topic “Are regional parties losing out to national political parties?” at the first “InsideNE Youth Conclave” in Guwahati.
“The AGP will pull out its support to the government the day the Citizenship Bill is passed. We will call it quits even if we get the feeling they will pass the Bill,” AGP leader Dilip Patgiri said.
He said the AGP stood opposed to the Bill and this was evident from the series of rallies which the party had organised against the Bill.
Speaking on the topic, he did not agree that the regional political parties were losing out to national political parties and cited the examples of various regional parties holding sway in mainland India.
“Our alliance (with BJP) was stitched as it was the need of the hour. People were frustrated with the then ruling Congress. By aligning with the BJP, we are not merging with them. Our alliance will continue till 2021,” Patgiri said.
Tripura Minister NC Debbarma said: “This is an era of coalition. National and regional political parties should respect alliance dharma and work hand in hand”.
He said there were seven recognised national political parties compared to 62 state parties. There are 20 recognised state parties in the Northeast, he said.
“It is nationalism for the national political parties and sub-nationalism for the regional political parties. The regional political parties work on issues such as regional hopes and aspirations besides regional problems,” Debbarma said.
Assam BJP leader Jayanta Malla Baruah said both national and regional parties are needed. In places, regional parties are needed to highlight local issues, he said.
“Despite not being a necessity, we are in alliance with some because our ideals are the same. But through alliance, we don’t want to kill any political party,” he clarified.