GUWAHATI: Shiv Sena whose relation off-late has deteriorated with the BJP despite the alliance, has promised to support Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)-- another BJP ally --in opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016.

Shiv Sena chief Uddhav Thackeray assured the AGP leaders that Shiv Sena will provide all support for the regional party following a meeting.

“You have come here with the genuine problems of Assam and its indigenous people. We have always been working for the cause of indigenous people. Shiv Sena will be with you all and we will do whatever needed to be done in this regard. All our MPs who are in the parliament will stand in your support. This is not just your problem but a problem of the country men. You don’t worry,” Thackeray told the visiting AGP leaders in Mumbai on Saturday evening.

Both the parties have also agreed to work together. And this was their maiden formal interaction on the issue. The AGP delegation was led by party president and state agriculture minister Atul Bora who was accompanied by party working president Keshab Mahanta, food and civil supplies minister Phani Bhusan Choudhury and general secretaries Ramendra Narayan Kalita, Kamala Kalita and Birendra Prasad Baisya.

This is a significant move after the Maharashtra based party had openly expressed its unhappiness against the BJP. Shiv Sena also vowed to fight alone in the 2019 Lok Sabha elections.

BJP and Shiv Sena were allies for over two-and-half decades before they severed ties ahead of the 2014 Maharashtra Assembly polls, only to join hands later to form the government under the leadership of Devendra Gangadharrao Fadnavis in the state.

A recent editorial of Shiv Sena’s mouthpiece ‘Saamna’, questioned BJP after suffering defeat in by-polls in various states.

“The PM is touring the world and Amit Shah (BJP national President) is going around the country as part of their ‘sampark’ programme. Shah will be meeting NDA allies. However, what exactly will he do? Why is he meeting at this juncture when the BJP has suffered defeat in by-polls,” Shiv Sena leaders had asked.

On the other hand, AGP, though in alliance in Assam has been very vocal against the Citizenship Amendment Bill which seeks to grant citizenship to non-Muslim minorities from the neighbouring countries who have come here up till December 31 of 2014.

The AGP leaders have expressed satisfaction after the meeting. “We, all the regional parties must work together for the greater interest of the people and the land,” said Bora.

The AGP leadership has even threatened to come out of the alliance if BJP decides to go ahead with the bill. The bill which was tabled in 2016 in the parliament has been sent to a Joint Parliamentary Committee (JPC) for review.

AGP and most of the organizations have been opposing the bill in Assam, especially in the Brahmaputra valley. More than 300 organizations including the influential All Assam Students Union (AASU) and Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) have expressed their opposition to the JPC.

In Barak valley, where Bengali speaking population dominates, the scenario is different. They have supported the Bill.