Threat to regionalism in Assam : Sarbananda Sonowal quits AGP to join BJP

Sarbananda Sonowal, AASU leader turned MP from AGP who had wrested Dibrugarh parliamentary seat from Congress in 2004 general election has resigned from primary membership of AGP ( Asom Gana Parishad) on Friday, 4th February 2011.

Sarbananda Sonowal had ended Congress domination in Dibrugarh constituency which had been electing Congress candidate since independence of India. Sarbananda Sonowal was president of All Assam Students Union ( AASU) the powerful student organisation in Assam from 1992 to 999. He was also chairman of NESO (North East Students Organisation) from 1994 to 2004.

In his resignation, he has informed that he is very upset due as AGP is building close relation with AUDF and its chief Badruddin Ajmal and its sidelining of illegal immigrants issue while doing so.

Sonowal significantly hit out at former Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta questioning his growing closeness with Ajmal and for extending tacit support to AUDF’s communal agenda. “How could a leader, who led the Assam agitation against the foreign nationals, join hands with Ajmal, who has openly criticised the scrapping of IM (DT) Act,” Sonowal asked.

The other issue which Sarbanda Sonowal is, AGPs relation with AASU. AASU has been showing blak flag to Prafulla Kumar Mahanta where ever he goes in Assam. AGP leadership has not worked to mend its relation with AASU, he alleged.

On his decision to join BJP, Sonowal said he held wide ranging consultations with host of people before arriving at a decision to quit AGP.

“I held at least seven rounds of discussions with BJP’s central leadership and sought their assurances on a number of issues concerning the fate of the indigenous people, before agreeing to join BJP,” he said.

The BJP national president has agreed to accord top priority to some of the burning issues like to securing the future of the indigenous people, complete implementation of the Assam Accord in spirit and letter, solution of the flood and erosion problem among others.

Sonowal said as BJP closely identified with the issues he has been fighting for, he found it the best alternative.

Whatever reason Sarbananda Sonowal may cite for his resignation, there are few things which may have forced him to snap his ties with AGP. Most people believe that he lost 2009 MP election from Dibrugarh due to AGP voters. He got votes from BJPs loyal supporters Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, who opted to contest election from Jorhat against B K Handique as AGP and BJP had alliance in 2009.

The other reason is when he sought Rajya Sabha ticket, he was denied by AGP leadership and many opine that it was pressuried by Badaruddin Ajmal AUDF to deny him ticket as AGP candidate whose votes were important for electing any AGP candidate.

Finally, his seemingly junior leaders like Himanta Biswa Sarma had risen not only in political ladder in Assam, but also in stature in Assam politics while senior and powerful leader like him were left behind. He must have thought that BJP is one party which can give his political career a required push as well as relevance in Assam politics as well as in Delhi.

Resignation of Sarbanada Sonowal has removed another son of the soil leader from AGP. AGP is now accused of alienating tribals of Assam and incipiently Sarbananda Sonowal also belongs to Sonowal Kachari tribes ( a greater Bodo Kachari ). Joining of Sarbananda Sonowal, BJP may increase its tally from Dibrugarh district. AGP will find it more difficult to win votes from indigenous people in Assam.

It is sad development for AGP which was formed after historic AASU-India accord in 1985 after famous six years agitation against illegal-immigrant from Assam for safeguarding local indigenous people.


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