How Sonowal Shot to Fame Riding the ‘Illegal Infiltration Issue’

Did Sonowal rely on identity politics to win the Assam polls?

1 min read

Assam’s first BJP Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal’s foray into politics began with him joining the All-Assam Students Union (AASU) where he served as its President from 1992 to 1999.

His fame heightened in 2005 when he took up the issue of “illegal infiltration from Bangladesh” and moved the Supreme Court for removing the Illegal Migrants (Determination by Tribunal) Act, 1983.

In its landmark judgment on 12 July 2005, the apex court struck down the Act as being “unconstitutional” and termed Bangladeshi infiltration an act of “external aggression”. The judgment has had its impact on Sonowal’s political career – he became the ‘Jatiya Nayak’ (National Hero) of Assam, a title bestowed on him by the AASU.

(Video Editor: Purnendu Pritam)

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