Voices of dissent over AGP-BJP seat sharingFebruary 6th, 2009 - 12:38 pm ICT by IANS
Guwahati, Feb 6 (IANS) Voices of dissent are coming thick and fast even as top leaders of the Assam’s main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) publicly maintain that the seat-sharing agreement between the two parties to fight the parliamentary elections is smooth.There is a bitter tug-of-war going on between the AGP and BJP for at least two parliamentary seats with both parties keen to field candidates.
The prestigious Guwahati and Tezpur Lok Sabha seats are the main bone of contention because of which the parties were unable to formally declare the seat-sharing pact.
“We have decided to propose the name of our party legislator Joseph Toppo to fight the Tezpur seat,” senior AGP leader Padma Hazarika said.
But AGP’s stand on claiming the Tezpur seat has not gone down well among BJP leaders and workers at the grassroots level.
“Our party has not decided to leave the Tezpur seat and so it is a little unfair for the AGP to announce their candidate. We also have able candidates to contest from Tezpur,” said Abhijit Hazarika, BJP leader from Tezpur.
Same is the case with the Guwahati seat with murmurs of dissent coming to the fore.
In all likelihood, the AGP would give up Guwahati to the BJP after the saffron party leadership in New Delhi pressurised the regional allies to make way for their candidates to contest the prestigious seat.
“Yes I am willing to contest from Guwahati,” said Bijoya Chakaraborty, BJP national vice president and former central minister who won the seat in the 1999 general elections.
Although it is almost certain that the Guwahati seat is going to the BJP, a section of AGP leaders are putting up resistance, trying to convince the leadership not to give up claim on Guwahati.
“The AGP has five MLAs in the Guwahati Lok Sabha constituency and our performance in the last panchayat elections was also good. We have a fair chance of winning Guwahati,” a senior AGP leader said.
There are also disconcerting voices in other seats where the two parties have already decided who would contest.
The Dibrugrah seat would be contested by the sitting MP of the AGP Sarbananda Sonowal.
But when it came to holding a joint AGP-BJP election meeting in Dibrugarh, most of the local BJP leaders were conspicuous by their absence.
“There should not be any problems and both the parties would work together,” AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said, trying to put up a brave front.
In the 2001 assembly elections, the AGP-BJP alliance was humiliated by the ruling Congress after which both the parties blamed each other for the electoral rout.