Congress braces for a fight if Assam kept out of land boundary deal

The Congress said that it would support only if the bill is the same as the original one the UPA introduced in RS.

Written by P Vaidyanathan Iyer | New Delhi | Updated: May 1, 2015 6:52 am
Sonia Gandhi, Sushma Swaraj, boundary agreement, Bangladesh india boundary agreement,  Congress, LBA, Narendra Modi, Trinamool Congress, Mamata Banerjee, land boundary deal, GST Bill, land boundary agreement, india bangladesh land deal, Congress, BJP government, NDA government, india news, nation news Congress President Sonia Gandhi. (Source: Express archive)

Sonia Gandhi has conveyed to External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj that the Congress will oppose a constitutional amendment seeking to exclude Assam while operationalising the land boundary agreement with Bangladesh.

Sushma had earlier in the day sounded out Anand Sharma , deputy leader of the opposition in the the Rajya Sabha, about the exclusion.
Sharma and Ghulam Nabi Azad, leader of the opposition in the Rajya Sabha, then discussed it with Sonia, who also consulted Assam CM Tarun Gogoi on the plan for a statute amendment and the proposed exclusion of Assam. “You can’t exclude Assam… Gogoi is in favour of the agreement. He had accompanied then PM Manmohan Singh to Bangladesh in 2011,” said a senior Congress functionary.

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The Congress leaders told Sushma that her government can expect the party’s support only if the bill is the same as the original one the UPA introduced in the Rajya Sabha. “Domestic politics cannot be the reason for excluding an Indian state in an international agreement,” said the Congress functionary, who did not wish to be named.

With elections due next year and the BJP’s rising aspirations in Assam, the Centre is keen that the state is kept out of the LBA. The party’s unit in Assam had always strongly opposed the exchange of enclaves.

“The amendment will require a two-thirds majority in the Rajya Sabha. We will not let it pass,” said the Congress leader.

The BJP-led government now has the support of West Bengal, Tripura and Meghalaya, the other three states besides Assam that will be affected by the LBA.

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