Protests continue in Assam against delimitation proposals

Guwahati: Protests against the delimitation proposals continued in Assam on Saturday, with allies of the ruling BJP-led coalition as well as opposition parties venting their discontent.

Terming the draft delimitation proposal an attempt by the BJP to polarise voters on religious lines disregarding the sentiment of the people, opposition parties decided to present the ‘grievances’ of the citizens before the Election Commission.

Protests by Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leaders took place in the Amguri Assembly constituency in Sivasagar district on Saturday.

The constituency is represented by Pradip Hazarika of the AGP, an ally of the BJP.

“Our Amguri constituency is being merged with another constituency and we are losing our identity. We will not accept it and continue our agitation,” a local AGP leader said.

Opposition AIUDF held protests in Barak Valley districts on Friday. The protestors demanded that status quo of boundaries and the name of constituencies be maintained.

It has been decided that a delegation of 12 opposition parties, including the Congress, will visit Sivsagar district on June 30.

“We chose Sivsagar as the different communities, tribes and sub-groups are feeling hurt and betrayed. The BJP has ignored their sentiment and the EC has not taken into consideration the historical perspectives,” state Congress president Bhupen Kumar Borah said.

After Sivasagar, the delegation will tour the Barak Valley districts of Cachar, Karimganj and Hailakandi on July 2 and 3.

“Population has increased everywhere, maybe in varying degrees. So, we fail to understand why the number of assembly constituencies in Barak Valley was decreased by two (in the delimitation draft). That’s why our team will be going there,” he said.

A delegation of the 12 parties will visit New Delhi on July 7-8, during which they will submit a memorandum on their findings to the ECI.

“The only motive of the BJP behind the draft proposal is religious polarization, without any regard for the people. We cannot allow that to happen. We will approach the ECI with the findings based on our interaction with the people,” Bora said.

In the draft delimitation document released on June 20, the EC has proposed to retain the number of assembly seats in Assam at 126 and the Lok Sabha constituencies at 14.

The commission has also planned to alter the geographical boundaries of most of the constituencies, both assembly and the Lok Sabha, while eliminating some seats and creating a few new ones.