AGP walk­out an emo­tional loss: Hi­manta

Hindustan Times (Delhi) - - FRONT PAGE - Ku­mar Ut­tam let­[email protected]­dus­tan­ CON­TIN­UED ON P 6 FULL IN­TER­VIEW P10

NEW DELHI: The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)’S de­ci­sion to sever ties with “nat­u­ral ally” Bharatiya Janata Party is an “emo­tional loss” but the de­vel­op­ment will not have any bear­ing on the Lok Sabha elec­tions this sum­mer, As­sam fi­nance min­is­ter Hi­manta Biswa Sarma said on Sun­day.

The 49-year-old leader, who is con­sid­ered the BJP point per­son for the north­east where the party has made sig­nif­i­cant gains in the past three years, said he was ready to wel­come the AGP if it wanted to re­turn to the Na­tional Demo­cratic Al­liance (NDA).

“We will never close the doors for the AGP,” Sarma said in an in­ter­view. “Yes, it [the AGP walk­ing out of the al­liance] is an emo­tional set­back for us be­cause they were friends, and by and large our ide­o­log­i­cal line was the same. I am more emo­tion­ally upset, rather than elec­torally.”

Last week, the As­sam-based party pulled out of the Bjp-led gov­ern­ment in the state over the Cit­i­zen­ship Amend­ment Bill, which seeks to give cit­i­zen­ship rights to non-mus­lims from Bangladesh, Pak­istan and Afghanistan. The AGP has its roots in the 1985 As­sam Ac­cord, which said any­one who en­tered the state after March 1971 would be seen as an il­le­gal im­mi­grant and should be de­ported.

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