In an embarrassment to the ruling BJP in Assam, a popular singer has written to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal, asking him to return votes that the saffron party obtained by using his song. Popular Assamese singer Zubeen Garg took to his Facebook page to express his dissatisfaction over the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016 by the BJP-led central government.
Addressing the state chief minister, Garg wrote, “Dear Sarbananda Sonowal Da, wrote a letter to you few days back. Guess you are too busy counting the black flags to respond.” His reference to black flags was in relation to the state-wide protests over the passing of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill.
Garg also demanded the return all those votes that the BJP had secured by using his song during the election campaign in 2016. He wrote, “So, can I get the votes back that you earned using my voice in 2016?” He said that he was ‘ready to refund the remuneration’ paid against the campaign song.
Sonowal has had to face a lot of protests with protesters waving black flags at him. More recently, the Assam Chief Minister was shown black flags in Dibrugarh last week, when he visited the region to attend the concluding function of the 61st State Conference of the All Assam Ahom Sabha.
His government is facing a huge backlash for its stand against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. The Bill seeks to make Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists, Jains, Parsis and Christians, who left Afghanistan, Bangladesh and Pakistan to escape religious persecution, eligible for Indian citizenship.
A report by news agency PTI said that Protests continued unabated against the Citizenship Bill across Assam even on Sunday, when over 100 agitators were picked up when they blocked the road to Kaziranga University, where Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal went for its convocation.
While Sonowal was in the fifth convocation ceremony of the university at Jorhat, over 100 protesters from Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuva Chhatra Parishad (AJYCP) shouted slogans and showed black flags in front of the main gate.
In Karbi Anglong district, hundreds of students blocked National Highway-36 for hours, while Jogi and Kalita communities burnt copies of the Bill on NH-37 at Dudhnoi in Goalpara.
Leading artistes, poets and singers, including popular singer Dikshu, held a sit-in at Golaghat and demanded the government scrap the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. The Forum Against Citizenship Act Amendment Bill called for burning of the replica of the Bill during ‘Magh Bihu’ on Tuesday.