Amidst protests in Assam over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, popular Assamese singer Zubeen Garg has offered to return the remuneration he received for singing the BJP’s official campaign song for Assam assembly elections in 2016.
“Dear Sarbananda Sonowal Da, wrote a letter to you few days back. Guess you are too busy counting the black flags to respond. So, can I get the votes back that you earned using my voice in 2016? I am ready to return the remuneration,” Garg wrote on his Facebook page on Sunday in a post addressed to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal.
Garg sang ‘Axomor Ananda Sarbananda’ (Assam’s Happiness Sarbananda) which was BJP’s popular campaign song in the run-up to the state polls in 2016 where the party managed to come to power in an alliance government with the Asom Gana Parishad and the Bodoland People’s Front. The AGP recently pulled out of the alliance in opposition to the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Earlier, Garg, who has a massive following in Assam, wrote an open letter to Sonowal on January 8, criticizing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill and said it will never be accepted.
The Bill which would pave way for non-Muslim religious minority communities from Pakistan, Afghanistan and Bangladesh who have come to India for reasons of religious persecution was passed by the Lok Sabha last week.
Meanwhile, in what can be construed as a sign of discontent within the BJP’s state unit, Padma Hazarika, party’s MLA from Sootea constituency, said he will oppose the bill.
”I respect the Assam Accord. I suffered during the Assam Agitation and my friends got martyred. I want every clause of the Assam Accord to be implemented,” he told party workers in a meeting. “I will oppose the Citizenship Bill at party platforms at all levels to protect Assamese society,” he is heard saying in a video which has since surfaced on internet.
When asked if he would oppose the Bill in public, Hazarika said “My comments were in an internal party meeting.”
Last year, BJP MLAs Atul Bora, Binod Hazarika and and Bimal Bora had spoken out against the Bill but they have remained silent since it was passed in Lok Sabha.
State BJP general secretary Dilip Saikia, however, said “the Bill is a blessing for the North East.”
Meanwhile, BJP’s state unit suspended Pradip Dutta Roy, a member of the party and president of All Cachar-Karimganj-Hailakandi Student Association, a group based in Barak Valley. The suspension comes after his provocative statements and his request to the Vice Chancellor of Assam University to take action against students protesting against the Bill.
First Published: Jan 13, 2019 23:02 IST