Asom Gana Parishad, a BJP ally, has promised in its poll manifesto the implementation of the 1985 Assam Accord, which says that the government would identify and deport refugees and migrants who had come into the state after March 25, 1971. However, there is no mention of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act, whose passage in parliament had triggered violent protests in the state in 2019.
The law, which contradicts the Assam Accord, allows the granting of citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from three Muslim-majority countries – Bangladesh, Afghanistan and Pakistan.
Illegal immigration from Bangladesh has been a major political issue in Assam for decades.
“Full implementation of the Assam Accord is our party’s first and main aim and duty. We are committed to safeguarding political, economic, social and cultural rights of indigenous people as per Clause 6 of the Assam Accord,” the manifesto reads.
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord says that the “constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards, as may be appropriate, shall be provided to protect, preserve and promote the culture, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.”
The AGP was formed in 1985 after a six-year long agitation that had led to the signing of the Assam Accord. The party had been in power twice, but it could not fully implement the Clause 6 of the Accord.
The manifesto, which was released by Rajya Sabha MP Birendra Prasad Baishya today, termed the foreigners’ issue as the main problem of the state.
“We will continue to pressurise the central government to detect and deport infiltrators on the basis of the Assam Accord. The National Register of Citizens should be completed on the basis of the Assam Accord,” the manifesto said.
The AGP, which had formed an alliance with the BJP in 2015, currently has 13 MLAs in the assembly.
The party had opposed the CAA introduced by the NDA government in parliament in 2016 citing its commitment to the Assam Accord. Its ministers had resigned in 2018 in protest of the bill. They, however, withdrew their resignations later.
CAA was passed in parliament in 2019 without any opposition from the AGP.
The BJP’s manifesto, released last week, had also skipped the mention of the law.
The three-phased Assam elections will start on March 27. Counting will be held on May 2.