Asom Gana Parishad, the ruling alliance partner in Assam, held its general body meeting on Thursday despite a stay by a local court citing non-receipt of the order before it.
A district and sessions court had on Wednesday ordered AGP not to hold its scheduled general body meeting because it violated the party’s constitution and COVID-19 guidelines.
The general body of the regional party re-elected Atul Bora as its president unopposed, AGP ‘election officer’ Phani Bhusan Choudhury, who is also the State Food, Civil Supplies and Consumer Affairs Minister, announced in the meeting.
Bora said Keshab Mahanta, the State Water Resources
Minister, will continue to be the party’s working president.
Before the start of the meeting, the party leaders were tight lipped about the agenda. But sources in it had said the issue of electing a new president might come up.
The meeting did not have any other agenda and the entire day’s proceedings ended within three hours.
The party workers are divided into two camps, one supporting former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and the other with Bora. Both sides were seen huddling with their supporters several times in the last few days.
The AGP executive committee had met on Wednesday evening and discussed several issues, including the election of its new president.
“We have not received any court order yet. We have read about it in today’s newspapers. But we cannot work based on media reports only,” AGP MLA Satyabrat Kalita told newsmen before the meeting when asked.
The party constitution has been strictly followed while calling the meeting and all COVID-19 norms would be in place, he said.
Later, AGP general secretary Kamalakanta Kalita said, “We received the order at 12:45 pm, while our session ended at 11:45 am. We have requested senior advocate Bijon Mahajan to look into the legal aspect of the order.”
The programme started with Bora hoisting the party flag at its headquarters here and paying homage to the martyrs of Assam agitation.
“Holding the general convention is our constitutional obligation. We are holding it to take some decisions for strengthening the party in the coming days,” said Bora, who is the Agriculture, Horticulture and Food Processing Minister in the BJP-led government in the State.
The district and sessions court of Kamrup Metropolitan district hearing a petition filed by the AGP’s erstwhile Guwahati City Committee had on Wednesday asked the party to maintain status quo till the next date of hearing, which was posted for November 19.
The Civil Judge number 3 in the order asked AGP to “restrain themselves from holding Kendriya Sadharan Parishad meeting on 27.08.2020 based on notice dated 10.08.2020”.
The court said that calling the meeting with a notice period of 17 days instead of 30 days “prima facie appears to be illegal in view of Article 25(5) of Constitution of AGP”.
The order also said that the proposed meeting may witness attendance of more than 50 members, which will be a violation of the latest COVID-19 guidelines issued by the Assam government on August 13.
The petition was jointly filed by AGP Guwahati City Committee president Jiten Deka, working president Hemen Lahkar and secretary Girin Talukdar, who were removed from their posts after they opposed the Citizenship (Amendment) Act last year.