GUWAHATI, April 3 - Former chief minister and senior AGP leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who has already come out openly against the decision of the party leadership to renew ties with the BJP, today called upon the people of Assam to support candidates who are against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, (CAB) in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections.
�People of the State will decide who to vote for. But we request people to vote for candidates who can forcefully raise issues affecting the State. We request people not to vote for candidates who stand in favour of the CAB,� said Mahanta.
He was addressing a press conference here as convenor of the Asom Andolan Sangrami Mancha.
Mahanta also called upon all the regional outfits to maintain distance from �pro-CAB forces� and to support candidates who oppose the Bill. He said the people of Assam strongly opposed the Centre�s attempt to introduce CAB and called upon Prime Minister Narendra Modi to consider that fact.
�BJP president Amit Shah has stated that his party will reintroduce CAB. If the Bill is brought back it will be a threat to the language, culture and heritage of Assam and the State will suffer. As the Prime Minister of the country, Narendra Modi should take into account all these facts,� said the former chief minister.
He added, �In recent days there have been reports in sections of the media that I have asked people to vote for the Congress party in the Lok Sabha polls. Such reports are totally false. I have asked the voters of Assam to exercise franchise according to their conscience. But I also request the people to support those candidates who have taken a firm stand against the Bill.�
Mahanta said that many other political parties, besides the Congress, have also taken a stand against the Bill in Parliament.
�There are many independent candidates. But ultimately it is the voters who will decide who they want to vote for,� he said. Mahanta reiterated his earlier decision not to participate in the campaign for the General Elections.
He claimed that the present leadership of the AGP has violated the party�s constitution by unilaterally taking the decision to renew ties with the BJP without first seeking the consent of the party�s general body.
When pointed out that Kumar Deepak Das, who is considered very close to Mahanta in party circles, is himself now contesting from the Barpeta constituency as the NDA candidate, the former chief minister said, �It is better to put this question to Deepak Das.�