AGP to contest panchayat polls alone

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Guwahati, Nov 12 (IANS) The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), a BJP ally, on Monday said it will contest the coming panchayat polls in Assam on its own.

The AGP and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) are partners in the BJP-led alliance government in Assam.

Senior AGP leader Ramendra Narayan Kalita told IANS that the party’s General House had decided to contest the panchayat polls alone. “We have intimated the decision to the BJP leadership.”

Kalita refused to give any reason for the decision.

Panchayat polls are due in Assam next month.

BJP leader and Assam Health Minister Himata Biswa Sarma was present at a meeting held with the AGP on Monday.

“The BJP is ready to accept whatever decisions are taken by AGP regarding panchayat polls. The AGP and BPF are our partners. However if the regional party wants to contest the panchayat polls alone, we are ready to accept that,” Sarma said earlier.

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Difference between the AGP and BJP are rising over the Citizenship (Amendments) Bill 2016.

While the Modi government has been trying to pass the bill in Parliament, the AGP and several political parties as well as civil society organisations have been opposing it.

The constitutional amendment seeks to grant citizenship to “persecuted minorities” from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

The AGP and others say the bill will threaten the existence of indigenous communities of Assam.

–IANS

ah/mr

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