GUWAHATI: The influential students’ body, All
Students’ Union (Aasu), will issue directives to its members at the state executive meeting on March 21, to indirectly campaign in favour of the two
new regional parties
, the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal, for the upcoming assembly election in the state.
Aasu, which claims to be an ‘apolitical’ organization, for the first time took a ‘political stand’ by backing the formation of AJP last year to oust the BJP-AGP combine from power. The mass movement against the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Act, which started in December 2019, gave rise to a call for a
new political party
. Aasu and another allied organization, the Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP), played a proactive role in the formation of AJP. Later, AJP joined hands with Raijor Dal, supported by the leading peasant organization, Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), to float a new regional front against the BJP-AGP and the Congress-AIUDF led alliance.
“It is very important that AJP and Rajor Dal win to save regionalism from the hands of the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). Defeating
is necessary to save the interests of indigenous communities. The BJP government wants to give citizenship to foreigners on religious lines through CAA. We need new regional parties which can uphold the flag of regionalism,” Aasu general secretary Sankar Jyoti Baruah told TOI on Monday.
The AGP had faced the wrath of anti-CAA groups for continuing its alliance with the BJP though it had a different stance on CAA. Under these circumstances, AJP was born, headed by Aasu’s former general secretary Lurinjyoti Gogoi. However, Aasu is still cautious about directly being in politics because it does not want to lose its image of being apolitical. Even when AGP was floated in 1985 under former chief minister and ex-president of Aasu,
Prafulla Kumar Mahanta
, the Aasu brigade had stepped down from their positions in the student body that spearheaded the six-year anti-foreigner movement.
Senior BJP leader
Himanta Biswa Sarma
had come down heavily on Aasu for ‘becoming political’ after the anti-CAA movement. When Aasu criticized the BJP-led governments at the Centre and state for allegedly lacking the willingness to implement Clause 6 of the Assam Accord, Himanta had taken potshots at Aasu alleging, “Aasu is now a political party. One political party blames the other before the elections. It’s quite obvious.”
Besides Himanta, who is also from the Aasu stable, incumbent AGP president Atul Bora was also vocal against Aasu for backing political parties.
Aasu office bearers told TOI they would help to build up a public opinion in favour of AJP and Raijor Dal. “Our members will create awareness. Whatever modes are possible would be utilized to offer indirect support to the new regional camp,” Baruah added.