The All Assam Students Union (AASU) has announced that it would start working on a new political party in about a months time.
The union, spearheading a movement against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act, 2019 (CAA), since December 9 last, had made a New Year resolution to form a political alternative to the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its regional ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) as well as the Congress.
The AGP had ironically evolved from the AASU and other organisations that had steered the Assam Agitation from 1979-1985 for ejecting illegal migrants from Assam. That agitation ended with the signing of the Assam Accord on August 15, 1985.
We are keen on taking steps to initiate the new political alternative from February, AASU president Dipanka K. Nath told newspersons on Thursday, almost 24 hours after copies of the CAA were burned in Bhogali or Magh Bihu bonfires.
A 13-headed effigy symbolising Ravana, the demon king in the epic Ramayana, was also burned on Wednesday to coincide with the customary burning of meji during the Bihu.
Photographs of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Union Home Minister Amit Shah, Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and other BJP and AGP leaders were pasted on the heads of the Ravana effigy in eastern Assams Dibrugarh.
According to the AASU, the AGP has ceased to represent the people of Assam by toeing the Hindutva line of the BJP. Many AASU leaders, such as Mr. Sonowal, have switched over to the BJP during the past two decades.
A majority of the people of Assam are against the CAA and are disgusted with how the BJP-led Assam government has let New Delhi push its divisive agenda in the State. Our intellectuals and artistes have been encouraging us to go for the political alternative to defeat this agenda, Mr. Nath said.
Feeling the heat
On Thursday afternoon, former Chief Minister and veteran Congress leader Tarun Gogoi wondered if Mr. Sonowal was feeling the heat of the fire that turned the effigy of Ravana representing him and other BJP leaders to ashes.
The Ravana was burned near Mr. Sonowals ancestral home in Dibrugarh. Like that effigy, there are many real-life Ravanas, including those of the AGP, that need slaying in Assam, Mr. Gogoi said.