With parties like the DMK, AIADMK, Telegu Desham, to name just a few, having planted firm roots in the political landscape, regional parties have become an inseparable part of the body politic of the nation.
These parties have withstood the hostile and ravaging tests of time – indeed nightmarish ordeals by fire to hold on to their grounds amidst the most gruesome political terrain at times.
For sure, a handful of opportunists in their insatiable lust for power and greed for easy wealth ran helter-skelter in search of greener pastures and finally vanished into the blue.
Towards the fag end of the seventies and the early eighties of the last century, the famous Assam movement demanding detection, deletion and deportation (3 Ds) of millions of illegal migrants (foreigners, mainly Bangladeshis) was launched under the leadership of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP).
Most ridiculously, the movement leaders had very little idea about of the kind of foreigners (illegal Bangladeshi migrants) that resided in Assam at that point of time.
Their yardstick of determining a Bangladeshi migrant was green lungi, beard and ‘tupi’ and hence the Muslims.
Indeed a savagely distorted elucidation by the movement leaders on account their virtually nil or near nil knowledge of Assam history and history of Assam and Bengal as per Mountbatten Plan in 1947.
It sounds highly stupid, but one feels that it is high time that reminders be made that prior to 1947 it was undivided India.
To cut a long story short, the 6-year long Assam movement culminated with the signing of the Assam Accord.
One feels that that soon after the Accord was signed, the movement leaders forgot about the document, formed a regional party under the name and style of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and thus began a vista of power politics.
Reposing trust in the AGP because of its avowed regionalism, which in deeds was actually counterfeit, the people of Assam decreed the party to the seat of power in Dispur twice.
Most unfortunately, during those two terms of the AGP, Assam witnessed only ragtag and chaotic administration sans any direction or purpose as the leaders were solely hankering after power.
Having been totally routed in the 2014 Lok Sabha polls, the AGP had no option other than taking to the knees before the BJP ‘prabhus’ for mere survival.
The rest was a stereotype affair. The so called regional party entered into an electoral tie-up in the 2016 Assam Assembly elections and realised an environment of ‘dream comes true’ as a few elected AGP MLAs also gained ministerial berths.
Whereas the Assam Accord has set midnight of March 24, 1971 as the cut-off date for determination of foreigners, the CAA has trampled the Assam Accord and opened the flood gates for illegal Hindu Bangladeshis while offering Indian Citizenship and ‘mati and bheti’ in Assam on a platter to millions of Hindu Bangladeshis.
With the indigenous population facing the imminent threat of being numerically reduced to a minority in their home state, one shudders at the thought of the demographic devastation the state is likely to witness in the coming years and decades.
However, what is most disgusting and unpardonable is the fact that the AGP which was formed with the promise of upholding Assam’s interests while working tooth and nail to deport all illegal Bangladeshis (Hindus and Muslims) from Assam, voted in favour of the bill – CAB, to ensure its passage thorough the Parliament for the emergence of the Act – CAA.
Now under CAA Assam is all set to be the home to tens of millions of Hindu Bangladeshis illegally entering the state till December 2014.
As Assam elections 2021 are at the doorstep, it is high time that the indigenous people took a call if AGP, that chose to be turncoats and plunged into the saffron ditch and betrayed the indigenous by upholding the interests of Hindu Bangladeshis in terms of citizenship, ‘mati and bheti’ at the cost of much feared irreparable destruction of the fragile demographic paradigm of the state should be voted to power.
As of now, the AGP appears to be totally in the BJP web with the likes of Amit Shah, Sarbananda Sonowal and Himanta Biswa Sarma calling the shots even in the matter of selecting AGP candidates for Assembly polls.
By way of example both two-time CM and founder president of the AGP Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and senior leader and five-time MLA Brindaban Goswami have been bulldozed over to the wayside in the race for party tickets.
(Zaheer Akram Bora is a Guwahati-based journalist and can be reached at [email protected])