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Sonowal quits AGP, set to join BJP

By Kalyan Barooah
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NEW DELHI, Feb 4 � Questioning AGP�s growing closeness with AUDF and its chief Badruddin Ajmal, former Lok Sabha MP Sarbananda Sonowal has on Friday tendered his resignation from the regional party.

Sonowal is slated to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) later this month at Dibrugarh, in presence of the Party�s national president, Nitin Gadkari, who is flying down to Assam to induct him.

Confirming his resignation from AGP, Sonowal told this newspaper that he is very upset with the AGP top leadership over a number of issues, primarily the regional party�s bid to side line the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants and its growing closeness with AUDF.

Sonowal significantly hit out at former Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta questioning his growing closeness with Ajmal and for extending tacit support to AUDF�s communal agenda. �How could a leader, who led the Assam agitation against the foreign nationals, join hands with Ajmal, who has openly criticised the scrapping of IM (DT) Act,� Sonowal asked.

He added that Ajmal�s attempt to project Mahanta as the next Chief Minister has led to serious misgivings within the party and some leaders like him had raised objections. �It is curious that Mahanta choose to keep quiet and clarify that AGP Party and not Ajmal can select the next leader, he said.

AGP sources say that it was because of stiff opposition by Ajmal that the regional party was forced to deny Sonowal nomination Rajya Sabha elections, last time. Ajmal reportedly conveyed that a person, who was responsible for repealing of the IM (DT) Act, was not acceptable to AUDF.

The IM (DT) Act was scrapped by the Supreme Court and not by any political party or government describing it as discriminatory. Subsequently, within two days of the verdict on July 14, 2005, as many as 200 minority organisations welcomed it. �Therefore, the impression sought to be conveyed by Badruddin and lapped up by some our AGP leaders that minority community is against the verdict, has no basis,� Sonowal argued.

He alleged that AGP and AUDF have entered into a tactical alliance for the ensuing Assembly elections following a series of discussions between the leadership of the two parties. The party has not realised that people would never accept a cosy relationship between AGP, which was born out of the Assam agitation and a party like AUDF. The former Lok Sabha MP said these and a number of other issues led to his frustration.

Sonowal revealed that he had submitted a 12-point questionnaire to the AGP leadership seeking clarification on issue like the regional party�s current stand on illegal Bangladeshi migrants, status of relationship with AUDF the secret killings and other issues.

Another issue that was flagged by Sonowal was AGP�s love-hate relationship with All Assam Students Union (AASU). Mahanta still faces AASU�s black flag wherever he goes, yet the leadership did nothing to resolve the differences with AASU.

On his decision to join BJP, Sonowal said he held wide ranging consultations with host of people before arriving at a decision to quit AGP.

�I held at least seven rounds of discussions with BJP�s central leadership and sought their assurances on a number of issues concerning the fate of the indigenous people, before agreeing to join BJP,� he said.

The BJP national president has agreed to accord top priority to some of the burning issues like to securing the future of the indigenous people, complete implementation of the Assam Accord in spirit and letter, solution of the flood and erosion problem among others.

Sonowal said as BJP closely identified with the issues he has been fighting for, he found it the best alternative.

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Sonowal quits AGP, set to join BJP

NEW DELHI, Feb 4 � Questioning AGP�s growing closeness with AUDF and its chief Badruddin Ajmal, former Lok Sabha MP Sarbananda Sonowal has on Friday tendered his resignation from the regional party.

Sonowal is slated to join Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) later this month at Dibrugarh, in presence of the Party�s national president, Nitin Gadkari, who is flying down to Assam to induct him.

Confirming his resignation from AGP, Sonowal told this newspaper that he is very upset with the AGP top leadership over a number of issues, primarily the regional party�s bid to side line the issue of illegal Bangladeshi migrants and its growing closeness with AUDF.

Sonowal significantly hit out at former Chief Minister, Prafulla Kumar Mahanta questioning his growing closeness with Ajmal and for extending tacit support to AUDF�s communal agenda. �How could a leader, who led the Assam agitation against the foreign nationals, join hands with Ajmal, who has openly criticised the scrapping of IM (DT) Act,� Sonowal asked.

He added that Ajmal�s attempt to project Mahanta as the next Chief Minister has led to serious misgivings within the party and some leaders like him had raised objections. �It is curious that Mahanta choose to keep quiet and clarify that AGP Party and not Ajmal can select the next leader, he said.

AGP sources say that it was because of stiff opposition by Ajmal that the regional party was forced to deny Sonowal nomination Rajya Sabha elections, last time. Ajmal reportedly conveyed that a person, who was responsible for repealing of the IM (DT) Act, was not acceptable to AUDF.

The IM (DT) Act was scrapped by the Supreme Court and not by any political party or government describing it as discriminatory. Subsequently, within two days of the verdict on July 14, 2005, as many as 200 minority organisations welcomed it. �Therefore, the impression sought to be conveyed by Badruddin and lapped up by some our AGP leaders that minority community is against the verdict, has no basis,� Sonowal argued.

He alleged that AGP and AUDF have entered into a tactical alliance for the ensuing Assembly elections following a series of discussions between the leadership of the two parties. The party has not realised that people would never accept a cosy relationship between AGP, which was born out of the Assam agitation and a party like AUDF. The former Lok Sabha MP said these and a number of other issues led to his frustration.

Sonowal revealed that he had submitted a 12-point questionnaire to the AGP leadership seeking clarification on issue like the regional party�s current stand on illegal Bangladeshi migrants, status of relationship with AUDF the secret killings and other issues.

Another issue that was flagged by Sonowal was AGP�s love-hate relationship with All Assam Students Union (AASU). Mahanta still faces AASU�s black flag wherever he goes, yet the leadership did nothing to resolve the differences with AASU.

On his decision to join BJP, Sonowal said he held wide ranging consultations with host of people before arriving at a decision to quit AGP.

�I held at least seven rounds of discussions with BJP�s central leadership and sought their assurances on a number of issues concerning the fate of the indigenous people, before agreeing to join BJP,� he said.

The BJP national president has agreed to accord top priority to some of the burning issues like to securing the future of the indigenous people, complete implementation of the Assam Accord in spirit and letter, solution of the flood and erosion problem among others.

Sonowal said as BJP closely identified with the issues he has been fighting for, he found it the best alternative.

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