GUWAHATI, Oct 15 - The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is of the view that proper implementation of Clause 6 of the Assam Accord is the key for protection of the rights of the indigenous people of Assam. The party also asserted that though it had to form an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), it would not give up its regional character.
Talking to The Assam Tribune a day after the AGP celebrated its foundation day, president of the party Atul Bora, who is also the State Agriculture Minister, said that the relevance of regionalism has become stronger than ever before and asserted that the AGP would never give up its ideals. He said that the AGP would not compromise on the issue of implementation of the Assam Accord.
Bora said that over the years, successive Governments at the Centre did not show any interest in implementing the Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, which provides for Constitutional safeguard to the Assamese people. He pointed out that the present Government at the Centre has formed a high level committee for suggesting measures for implementation of that Clause of the Accord. He said that the Committee should submit its recommendations as soon as possible and on its part, the Government of India should ensure implementation of all the recommendations within a specific time frame.
The AGP president admitted that though the regional party was formed with the mandate of implementing the Assam Accord, it failed to live up to the expectations of the people during its two tenures in office because of the fact that during those times, the State Government did not receive support from the Centre. The Union Home Ministry is the nodal Ministry for implementation of the Accord and without the support of the Centre, it is not possible for the State Government to implement the Accord, he added.
On the reports of privatization of Numaligarh refinery, Bora said that he had spoken to Chief Minister on the issue. The Chief Minister is not aware of any such move and sought clarification from the Central Government. However, at the same time, Bora pointed out that Numaligarh refinery was the fruit of Assam agitation and the AGP is against its privatization.
Replying to a question on his views on the future of regionalism, Bora said that the relevance of regionalism has increased and the people of Assam have a soft corner for regional forces. He said that the AGP launched a special membership drive from September 14 to October 14 and the response was overwhelming. Because of such response, the drive has been extended by another month. He also pointed out that senior members including founder member Zoii Nath Sarma, who had left the party, returned to the AGP and few others are in touch as they also want to return to the regional party.
Justifying the alliance with the BJP, Bora said that forming an alliance was the need of the hour to bring an end to the �misrule of the Congress� and the present Government managed to check corruption to a great extent. He asserted that the AGP would not give up its regional character and pointed out that when the BJP led Government at the Centre brought the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the AGP Ministers submitted their resignation and the party launched a statewide movement. He said that before the last Lok Sabha polls, the BJP leaders had assured the AGP that if the national party decides on bringing the Bill again, it would be done through consensus. At the same time, Bora pointed out that the CAB did not have much impact on the minds of the voters of Assam as the agitations against the Bill were not reflected in the voting pattern.