Regional parties may play big role in Assam polls

By Sujit Chakraborty
Guwahati, Feb 4 : In the run-up to the Assam Assembly elections, the state’s regional parties are consolidating themselves to ensure multi-cornered fight and diminishing chances of the traditional bipolar politics.

The ruling Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) already announced to continue its alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and to forge a coalition with new ally United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) after discarding present ally Bodo Peoples’ Front (BPF).

Meanwhile, the main opposition Congress also formed a “Mahagathbandhan” (grand alliance) with three Left parties — the CPI-M, the CPI, the CPI-MLL — as well as the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha, regional parties having a political base among the Muslims and indigenous people respectively.

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In the latest development, on Thursday, two major regional parties — the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and the Raijor Dal (RD) — announced they would fight the ensuing polls together, leaving the other two combinations wary. Both the AJP and the RD are offshoots of the violent agitations against the Citizenship (Amendment) Act (CAA) in 2019.

Former All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi, who recently floated the AJP, announced the alliance, after a three-hour-long meeting on Thursday with the jailed leader Akhil Gogoi, also the the supremo of Raijor Dal.

Gogoi, who was jailed immediately after he led the agitations against the CAA in December 2019, is currently undergoing treatment for his various ailments at the Gauhati Medical College and Hospital.

Gogoi also said on Thursday said that his party is in touch with the BPF and Autonomous State Demand Committee from Karbi Anglong, both have substantial base among the indigenous people in central-western Assam.

“Our regional party alliance would field candidates in all the 126 seats,” he said. The AJP and RD leaders have so far rejected offers to join the Congress-led grand alliance.

After the outcome of the Bodoland Territorial Council polls in early December last year, the BJP dumped the BPF and announced to support its new allies the UPPL and Gana Suraksha Parishad (GSP) to take power in the politically significant autonomous body.

After announcing their alliance, Congress leaders, including state unit President Ripun Bora, had claimed that “a tsunami of votes” would be cast in favour of the “Mahagathbandhan”.

However, BJP leader and Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had retorted that “only Bangladesh can help the Congress get a tsunami of votes in the upcoming Assembly elections”.

Both the BJP and the Congress have expressed confidence of securing 100 seats in the 126-member Assembly in the polls, expected to be held along with those to the Assemblies of West Bengal, Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Puducherry in April-May.

Political analyst and writer Rajkumar Kalyanjit Singh said that though the BJP has downplayed the apparent threat from either the AJP or RD or any alliance they might cobble up but the saffron party is equally wary of the alliance of the two regional force denting their performance in about 45 seats across eastern Assam.

The BJP, in the last assembly polls in 2016 wrested power in Assam from Congress and became the single largest party in the state with 60 MLAs, while its allies — the AGP and the BPF — have 14 and 12 members in the house respectively.

The Congress and the AIUDF had fought separately in 2016, and managed 26 and 13 seats, respectively.

(Sujit Chakraborty can be contacted at sujit.c@ians.in)

Disclaimer: This story is auto-generated from IANS service.

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