Two important meetings took place in Assam yesterday. One was the cabinet meeting of the state government, the other was between the government and the All Assam Students Union (AASU). Both meetings were supposed to have one agenda, the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. However, only the meeting with AASU actually broached the subject. The union did not comment on the outcome of the meeting, whereas the government sounded pleased. As for the cabinet meeting, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), an alliance partner of the BJP, had declared that they would bring up the issue. However, before the meeting, they were urged not to and instead to bring it up in the meeting of alliance partners, which includes the Bodo People's Front (BPF), which has been surprisingly quiet on the issue.
The CM who met with AASU leaders including advisor Samujjal Bhattacharya stated that the meeting was cordial and that the two sides agreed to work together to secure the future of Assam. The government did not comment on the Bill and AASU did not comment on the outcome of the meeting. However, the meeting also discussed the NRC process, on which Bhattacharya said that the government was positive. The Asom Jatiatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) criticised the meeting stating that the government did not invite two of the main groups agitating against the Bill, the AJYCP and the Akhil Gogoi-led Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS).
Regarding the situation with the AGP, the CM had met with three AGP ministers, Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhusan Choudhury, before the cabinet meeting. Sonowal had requested them not to bring up the issue in the cabinet meeting and instead shelve it till the coordination committee meeting of alliance partners. The AGP has stated that they did not raise the issue in the cabinet meeting out of respect to the Chief Minister. The party reiterated its opposition to the Bill and reportedly informed the CM that they would not hesitate to pull out of the alliance if the Bill gets passed.