With the contentious Citizenship (amendment) Bill set to lapse on June 3 as it was not tabled in the Rajya Sabha which adjourned sine die on Wednesday, celebrations broke out across Assam which had been vehemently protesting against it.
The Budget session was the last Parliament session of the current government as the Lok Sabha polls are due this summer.
Supporters of several organizations agitating against the bill, which was passed in the Lok Sabha on January 8, were seen coming out to the streets, bursting crackers, sharing sweets and dancing.
Slogans such as “Narendra Modi, Amit Shah, SarbanandaSonowal, HimantaBiswaSarmahaihai” rent the air here.
Organizations like the All Assam Students Union (AASU), Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), Assam Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) claimed that not passing of the bill in the Rajya Sabha is a “victory of democracy, of the people of Assam and the northeast region against communal forces”.
AGP leader and former Assam chief minister Prafulla Mahanta, party chief Atul Bora, Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma, AASU adviser Samujjal Bhattacharya, KMSS chief Akhil Gogoi and top political leaders of the Congress are in Delhi to campaign against the bill.
Congress leader Pradyut Bordolo istated the people were “saved today from the conspiracy of the BJP to destroy the people in the N-E region”.
“This democratic momentum of the people has to continue against the communal forces,” he further said.
Assam PCC president Ripun Bora stated the party fought against the controversial bill under the guidance of UPA chairperson Sonia Gandhi and AICC president Rahul Gandhi.
Assam Finance Minister and BJP-head North East Democratic Alliance convenorHimantaBiswaSarma, who is an ardent supporter of the bill, termed it a “defeat of Assam” and claimed that without its enactment, 17 assembly seats will go to Bangladeshi Muslims.
“We did not have the number in the Rajya Sabha. We will pass the Bill when there is a majority … The BJP is committed to the bill and will remain so for the protection of the people of Assam, their language and culture,” he stated.
“We (BJP) will fight on only this matter in the coming Lok Sabha elections. We are not secretive about it”, he asserted.
Rajkumar Sarma, senior BJP leader in the state, said “BJP helps the constitutional amendment for the security of Assam. The BJP government will return with Narendra Modi as the prime minister. Then we will present the bill in the Rajya Sabha.”
The controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill was listed to be tabled in Rajya Sabha on February 13 amid protests in the northeast against the bill.
The Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019 grants for according Indian citizenship to Hindus, Jains, Christians, Sikhs, Buddhists and Parsis from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after seven years of residence in India instead of 12 years, which is the norm currently, even if they do not possess any document.