Cracks surface even before AGP-BJP formalise alliance

September 9th, 2008 - 1:24 pm ICT by IANS  

Guwahati, Sep 9 (IANS) A possible grand alliance between Assam’s main opposition parties Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of the general elections is being welcomed by the parties, but the chinks are already visible.Last week, leaders of the Assam unit of the BJP got the go ahead from their central leadership to work out a pre-poll understanding with the AGP, which had declared its resolve to explore the possibility of an alliance with the saffron party for the Lok Sabha elections in Assam.

“We welcome the decision of the AGP for an alliance with us. We know that if we are to form the government at the centre, we need to win maximum seats from Assam and if both the parties (AGP and BJP) join hands we are surely going to benefit,” Narayan Barkotoky, senior BJP leader and an MP in the Lok Sabha, said.

The central BJP leadership had formed a two-member committee with Sushma Swaraj and Yashwant Sinha to work our modalities for the AGP-BJP tie up in Assam. The AGP in the 2001 assembly elections had a pre-poll alliance with the BJP although the combination was routed by the Congress party. The AGP and BJP leaders later accused each other of sabotaging their own prospects in the 2001 polls.

Senior AGP leaders over the weekend held talks with the BJP central leadership in New Delhi to give a formal shape to the proposed alliance. “Things are moving in the right direction and we hope to forge an alliance soon,” a senior AGP leader said.

But the murmurs of protest from within the AGP and the BJP have already begun with some leaders determined to hold on to certain prestigious parliamentary seats.

“The question of leaving the Guwahati parliamentary seat to the BJP does not arise at all. The AGP would contest from Guwahati,” said senior AGP leader Kamala Kalita.

Some BJP leaders have been claiming that they would not leave five of the total 14 parliamentary seats in Assam.

The Congress says it would be happy if the two parties come together as the cracks have surfaced even before the two parties could forge an alliance.

“It is now sure that the AGP and the BJP have acknowledged they cannot fight the Congress alone. Even after their bitter 2001 experience, both of them are once again trying to have an alliance,” Haren Das, a senior Congress leader, said.

“The Congress would be happy if the two come together.”

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