Assam students’ unions float new political party

Similar experiment tried 35 years ago


Two students’ unions in Assam have formed a regional political party, 35 years after a similar experiment to avowedly insulate the State from “illegal migrants.”

The All-Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) floated the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) on Monday. The development has assumed significance ahead of the 2021 Assembly elections with at least two other regional parties having been formed, and another by peasant rights activist Akhil Gogoi’s organisation in the offing.

A 16-member committee the AASU and AJYCP had formed almost a month ago had suggested the formation of AJP as a political alternative to the Bharatiya Janata Party and the Congress.

The announcement was made by Krishnagopal Bhattacharya and Basanta Deka, two former professors and conveners of the panel. The duo said AJP would refrain from communal politics and campaign with the slogan, “Ghorey, ghorey aami,” meaning “We are in every household.”

AJYCP general secretary Palash Changmai said the people of Assam had encouraged them to form the party because of the failure of the BJP and the Congress to protect the interests of the State and its indigenous peoples.

“The State government surrendered before the Centre on the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA). We had to step in because the people want a political entity that will not cave in to Delhi’s demands at the cost of Assam’s future,” said AASU president Dipanka Kumar Nath.

Key agenda

AASU general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi said the implementation of the Assam Accord would be the AJP’s key agenda.

Representatives of the AASU, AJYCP and other organisations that spearheaded the bloody Assam Agitation (1989-85) to expel “illegal migrants” had signed an accord in August 1985. This accord prescribed midnight of March 24, 1971, as the cut-off date for detecting, detaining and deporting migrants, a euphemism for Bangladeshi nationals.

In October 1985, the leaders of the agitation formed the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) that swept the Assembly polls that year and formed a government headed by Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, who went on to become Chief Minister for a second time in 1996.