Revolt in AGP, campaign for leadership change intensifies

November 12th, 2009 - 3:17 pm ICT by IANS  

Bharatiya Janata Party By Syed Zarir Hussain
Guwahati, Nov 12 (IANS) Assam’s main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is facing a major political crisis with party supporters and senior leaders demanding a change in leadership after it suffered yet another electoral defeat.

“It is time the party leadership takes serious note of the feelings of the grassroots workers and supporters who are clamouring for a change in leadership. Leadership should not be based on seniority, but should be on the basis of performance and ability,” AGP vice president Apurba Kumar Bhattacharya told IANS.

The internal revolt within the AGP has become public after the party lost the by-elections to the Dhekiajuli assembly seat in northern Assam’s Sonitpur district, results of which were announced Tuesday.

The Congress party wrested the Dhekiajuli seat from the AGP.

The AGP suffered successive electoral defeats beginning with the 2001 assembly polls, then again the 2006 state elections, the local council polls, the April-May Lok Sabha elections, and more recently the by-elections.

“It would be wrong on the part of the AGP leadership to ignore the sentiments of the party supporters and workers,” Bhattacharya said.

Surprisingly, AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said the loss of Dhekiajuli was not a major upset.

“I don’t think the defeat in Dhekiajuli is a major setback for the party. The chief minister campaigned for the Congress party and begged votes and maybe the voters responded to his appeal,” the AGP president told journalists.

But other senior party leaders rejected Patowary’s claims.

“Definitely the loss in Dhekiajuli is a big setback for the party as this was considered the bastion of the AGP (Sonitpur district) and we had MLAs, including two from the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP),” former AGP president Brindaban Goswami said.

Party supporters and leaders at the local level are stepping up its campaign for leadership change.

“The entire central leadership of the AGP should resign and there should be a new committee so that the party can survive. Under the present AGP president, the party would simply sink into oblivion,” Surajit Deka, secretary of AGP’s youth wing of Sonitpur district, said.

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