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Asom Gana Parishad
@Asom-Gana-Parishad
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Political Party (Political)
 

About

Asom Gana Parishad (translation: Assam Peoples Council, AGP) is a state political party in Assam, India. The AGP was formed after the historic Assam Accord of 1985 and formally launched at the Golaghat Convention held from 13–14 October 1985 in Golaghat, that let Prafulla Kumar Mahanta to be elected as the youngest chief minister of the state. The AGP has formed government twice from 1985 to 1989 and from 1996 to 2001.

The party split in 2005, with former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta forming the Asom Gana Parishad (Progressive), but regrouped on 14 October 2008 in Golaghat.The party won 14 seats out of 126 in the 2016 Legislative Assembly Elections; a historic win for the party. Further, it shares power with the Bodoland Peoples Front and Bharatiya Janata Party.Currently it is a part of North-East Regional Political Front consisting of political parties of the northeast which has supported the National Democratic Alliance (India).

History

AGP was a result of a six-year-long Assam Agitation against illegal infiltration of foreigners from Bangladesh into Assam, led by All Assam Students Union. For years, people of Assam have been complaining against infiltration of illegal migrants from neighboring Bangladesh (East Pakistan till 1972), as they feared that it is altering the demographic, social and economic make-up of the state.

In 1979, AASU started peaceful democratic movement demanding detection of all illegal migrants in the state, deletion of their names from the countrys electoral rolls and deportation of all of them under the laws of the land. This movement continued for years, and the Assembly Election was held in 1983 in this hostile environment, which was protested by the agitating people.

AASU then constituted the All Assam Gana Sangram Parishad (AAGSP) which consisted of representatives of various organizations including the Asom Sahitya Sabha, two regional political parties – Asom Jatiyabadi Dal and Purbanchaliya Loka Parishad, the Sadau Asom Karmachari Parishad, Asom Jatiyabadi Yuva-Chatra Parishad, Asom Yuvak Samaj, All Assam Central and semi-Central Employees’ Association etc.

Several rounds of discussions with successive governments in New Delhi led to the signing of the Assam Accord on 15 August 1985 between the AASU and the government, with prime minister Rajiv Gandhi standing witness to it. The movement, known as Assam Agitation could have come to be remembered as one of the longest peaceful movements in the world after the freedom movement of India. But the Nellie massacre remains as one of the most barbaric incidents of independent India.

Following this, the State Assembly was dissolved and the Congress government headed by Hiteswar Saikia, which came to power in February 1983, was dismissed.

The Golaghat National Convention, organised in Golaghat on 13–14 October 1985 decided that a regional political party under the name and style of Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) be constituted and the Asom Gana Parishad was finally launched in Golaghat on 14 October 1985.

By that time, the previous central executive committee of the All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) was dissolved at a convention in North Lakhimpur in September, and Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, the president of the AASU during the period of the peaceful democratic movement, was elected the president of the presidium of the new political party. Asom Jatiyabadi Dal and the Purbanchaliya Loka Parishad also merged with AGP. Members from other organisations also joined the party.

The AGP contested the State Assembly elections held in December 1985 and swept the polls by winning 67 of the 126 seats apart from capturing seven of the 14 Lok Sabha (Parliament) seats, and formed the Government of Assam. The party again formed the government in Assam after winning the elections in 1996.

Party leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta served as the Chief Minister of Assam for two terms, first from 1985 to 1990 and then again from 1996 to 2001. Asom Gana Parishad was a part of the National Front government from December 1989 to November 1990.

Its Member of Parliament Dinesh Goswami was the Union Minister of Law and Justice in the V. P. Singh Ministry. The party was again a part of the United Front governments headed by H. D. Deve Gowda and Inder Kumar Gujral. AGP leaders Birendra Prasad Baishya and Muhi Ram Saikia were the Union Minister of Steel and Mines and the Union Minister of State for Human Resources Development respectively in the United Front governments.

The party has been marginalized in the politics of Assam. Once a formidable force, it has been sidelined by the Bodoland Peoples Front and the AIUDF of Badruddin Ajmal. Currently, the party has only 14 M.L.A in the Legislative Assembly of Assam.