Confident of its rising popularity in Assam, the BJP is playing it tough in its seat-sharing negotiations with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP). BJP general secretary Ram Madhav held another round of negotiation with the AGP leadership on Sunday to thrash out a seat-sharing formula but they did not make much headway, sources said.
The BJP offered 14 of 126 seats to the AGP. The latter insists on 40-45 seats. “The AGP has a limited, yet committed, support base. But, we also have other allies and our own interest to protect,” a BJP leader involved in negotiations told HT. The BJP also has an alliance with the Bodoland Peoples Front that has influence in 25-plus seats.
The AGP won 10 seats in the 2011 assembly polls; the BJP got just 4. “Things have changed in the last five years. The BJP was number one party in 2014 Lok Sabha election and won 7 Lok Sabha seats. We have to look at the present strength, not historical figures,” another BJP leader said.
On Sunday, over 400 workers from four districts laid seize at BJP’s office in Guwahati, asking the party to immediately call off negotiations with the AGP. They argued an alliance would be detrimental to BJP that has grown in size and influence.