The opposition Congress and organisations opposed to the Citizenship Bill criticised the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Wednesday, saying it had betrayed the people of Assam by realigning with the BJP just before the Lok Sabha polls for its greed for power.
The Congress, the All Assam Students' Union (AASU) and the Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) said the AGP owed an answer the people on its stand on the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, and vowed to continue their movement against it.
The AGP had severed ties with the BJP-led government in Assam in January to protest the Centre's decision to go ensure the controversial bill's passage in the Lok Sabha.
However, the bill, which seeks to provide Indian citizenship to non-Muslims from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan after six years of residence in India, could not be passed in the Rajya Sabha. It is set to lapse on June 3 when the term of the present Lok Sabha ends.
Leader of Opposition in Assam Assembly Debabrata Saikia of the Congress said the AGP has "shamelessly" joined hands with the saffron party, knowing well that the bill will be enacted if the BJP retains power at the Centre.
"The greed for power prevailed over the responsibilities of the AGP. By joining hands with the BJP once again, the party betrayed the people of Assam," Saikia said.
The bill, if enacted, will nullify the Assam Accord, which was also signed by leaders of the AGP, but the party is "not bothered about such crucial factors", he told reporters.
Clause 6 of the Assam Accord of 1985 seeks to provide constitutional, legislative and administrative safeguards to protect, preserve and promote the cultural, social, linguistic identity and heritage of the Assamese people.
"In my opinion, this is the most repulsive instance of opportunism and hypocrisy in politics," Saikia said.
The Congress, on the other hand, has stayed true to the interests of the people of Assam by playing a pivotal role in thwarting the bill in the Rajya Sabha, he claimed.
"I am confident that the people of Assam will give a befitting reply to the unholy alliance," he added.
AASU chief adviser Samujjal Kumar Bhattacharya said, "Political parties are interested only in their equation of seats. They are not showing any commitment for the cause. We will not accept that and will continue our struggle."
A six-year agitation by the AASU demanding identification and deportation of illegal immigrants culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord by the Rajiv Gandhi government and the students' organisation on August 15, 1985.
AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi wondered why the AGP joined hands with the BJP again when its president Amit Shah had publicly said at a rally in Assam that the party will bring back the bill if it returns to power.
"If nobody in the AGP opposes this decision, then the entire party and all its members are traitors. Like the BJP, now the AGP has also become a party that is inimical to the interests of Assam. People must ensure defeat of both the parties," he added.
The Citizenship Bill triggered huge protests in the northeastern region as its indigenous people feared that if enacted, the law would endanger their identity and livelihood.