AGP scouts for partners ahead of coming Assam polls

February 25th, 2011 - 8:16 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party Guwahati, Feb 25 (IANS) Barely a month for assembly elections in Assam, the main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is desperate for alliance partners - to stop the ruling Congress from making a political hat trick.Elections in Assam for the 126-member legislature are expected in March-April.

AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary made a dramatic announcement Friday saying it would not field candidates against leaders of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) and even the two Left parties.

“Opposition unity is a must to defeat the Congress. Hence we have decided against fielding our candidates in four constituencies where leaders of AUDF, BJP and the Left parties are contesting,” Patowary told journalists.

The AGP in September last year snapped ties with the BJP and has maintained that it would fight the coming election alone with support from smaller regional allies.

The AGP has suffered successive electoral reverses since 2001.

The party also lost the 2006 assembly elections, the local council elections and the Lok Sabha polls of 2009, besides the humiliating defeat in the two by-elections also in 2009.

The AGP and BJP fought the 2009 parliamentary election together. The AGP fared poorly, winning just one of 14 Lok Sabha seats, down by one compared to 2004.

The AGP tied up with the BJP in the 2001 assembly election but was routed by the Congress.

Now, amid fears that a fractured opposition might not be able to dislodge the Congress, the AGP president has dropped a bombshell, shocking his own party workers and leaders.

Said Gonok Das, an ardent AGP supporter in Behali constituency: “We cannot accept a decision by the party not to field candidates. It would be suicidal and mark the beginning of the end of AGP.”

BJP state president Ranjit Dutta represents Behali - the seat where the AGP president said it would not contest — as a goodwill gesture to the BJP.

But Dutta is happy: “I welcome the decision by the AGP.”

But the BJP state president was non-committal if the party would receiprocate by not fielding candidates against the AGP president.

The AUDF and Left parties are yet to react.

But it won’t be easy for the AGP to come to terms at the same time with the BJP, AUDF and the Left — due to ideologically differences.

The only possible combinations could be the AGP-AUDF-Left or AGP-BJP.

“We are ready to work out any alliance with secular parties but never with the BJP,” AUDF president Badruddin Ajmal said.

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