Poligot

Deja Vu, A New Party Is Born

The AGP was seen as a ‘traitor’. So its original crucible, AASU—the student body at the heart of the Assam agitation of the ’80s—forms a new party with an anti-CAA slogan.

Deja Vu, A New Party Is Born
info_icon

“The AASU will go fishing but it won’t touch the water.” The  banner headline screamed in Amar Asom, a widely-circulated vernacular daily of Assam. The reference was certainly not palatable for the influential All Assam Students’ Union, which had just a couple of days earlier floated a new political party, the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), along with another organisation, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP). The party will contest the assembly polls in 2021.

AJP, formed 35 years of the birth of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), is the first regional party of Assam after independence. And like in 1985, the issue that led to the AJP is still the same—undocumented migrants allegedly flooding the state and the need for a force that will tackle the issue honestly. The immediate context for the new party is the contentious Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA), which was passed by Parliament last year.  

Along with other parts of the country, Assam—in fact, the entire Northeast had witnessed mass protests against CAA, which many felt would burden the state with more illegal migrants. The CAA allows persecuted non-Muslims from three neighbouring countries to seek Indian citizenship.

The Amar Asom news report hinted that the AASU might be diluting the anti-CAA sentiments by refusing to go with the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti, a farmers association led by Akhil Gogoi, who is in jail for several months for anti-CAA protests. The AASU has, however, denied that it will ever compromise on its duty towards the people and the state. The KMSS is toying with the idea of forming a new political party.

AASU chief adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said that during the anti-CAA movement in the state, the people had advised the students’ associations  to think about a new regional force/front. “We can’t disrespect what the people have suggested to us. That’s the reason why we have decided to take vital inputs on how to move ahead,” Bhattacharya added.

The motto of the new party, “Assam first, always and ever”, is very familiar to the people of the state as the AGP had rode to power twice on the same agenda. But the AGP was seen as a “traitor” as it failed to address the sentimental issue of illegal migration. As the party lost mass support and successive elections, it finally ended up allying with the BJP which many of the AGP’s critics refer to as the last nail in the coffin. AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath termed the AGP “spineless” and said it lost the meaning of regionalism when they allied with BJP in 2016. Jagadish Dutta, a former minister during the AGP regime, is a convenor of the newly formed party.

Assam unit Congress president Ripun Bora said it was open for an alliance with the AJP. “In a democratic country, everyone has the right to float a political party. We are a national party with strong presence at the booth level, we are not worried at the arrival of a new party. But our concern is that they don’t divide the anti-CAA votes which eventually would help the BJP….We will be happy to strike an alliance if they come forward keeping aside the differences for the greater interest of the state,” Bora said. The Congress recently announced a tie-up with the AIUDF of perfume baron Badarudddin Ajmal for the 2021 elections.

By Abdul Gani in Guwahati

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement

Advertisement