AGP suffers setback as its top leader joins BJPBy IANS
Tuesday, February 8, 2011
DIBRUGARH - Assam’s main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Tuesday suffered a major setback when its firebrand leader and former MP Sarbananda Sonowal quit the party and joined the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) at a public rally here.
The rally was attended by a host of BJP leaders, including party president Nitin Gadkari and Varun Gandhi, who is the in-charge of the BJP’s affairs in Assam.
“I was fed up with the AGP as the party leadership compromised on the core issue of Bangladeshi infiltration. I realised there is no space for me in the party that compromised on the issue of influx, and hence thought the best option was to join the BJP,” Sonowal told the rally.
“During the past few months, the AGP leadership started hobnobbing with the AUDF (Asom United Democratic Front), which is opposed to our stand against infiltration. I realised the AGP leadership was simply interested in power and ready to compromise on their ideology by even teaming up with the AUDF,” he said.
Sonowal has always been very vocal on the infiltration issue and was instrumental in getting the controversial Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act (IMDT) scrapped by the Supreme Court in 2006.
The apex court verdict scrapping the IMDT Act followed a petition of Sonowal. The act placed the onus of proving that a person is a foreign national on the complainant rather than the person so accused.
The act has now been replaced with the Foreigners Act, 1946, applicable across India, where the accused needs to prove his or her citizenship, if questioned.
Addressing the rally, the BJP president said the party was eyeing to capture power in Assam with assembly polls due in March-April.
“The Congress government in Assam has become a national burden with corruption being the hallmark. People in Assam are looking for a change and the BJP is here to give that change,” Gadkari said.