BJP seals deal with AGP ahead of Assam polls

  • Digambar Patowary, Hindustan Times, Guwahati
  • Updated: Mar 04, 2016 14:10 IST
The announcement came after a meeting between AGP leaders and BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi. (PTI Photo)

The BJP on Wednesday sealed its electoral alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for the upcoming assembly poll in Assam, which has been ruled by the Tarun Gogoi-led Congress for the last 15 years.

Today’s announcement came after a meeting between AGP leaders and BJP president Amit Shah in New Delhi. The AGP delegation was lead by party chief Atul Bora and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.

“Both BJP and AGP have decided to contest the assembly election together. This decision has been taken to oust the Congress from power in Assam,” said Sarbananda Sonowal, Assam BJP president and Union minister.

AGP chief Bora said that to form a non-Congress government in Assam, there was a need to avoid splitting the anti Congress votes

BJP sources claimed that the AGP would get at least 24 seats, while the two sides would try and avoid friendly fights on another 2-3 seats.

The BJP-AGP alliance could hurt Gogoi’s prospects as the chances of the anti-Congress votes getting split is diminished. The vote base of the two parties is almost similar, except that the BJP has made significant inroads in the state’s tea garden areas and also enjoys the support of the Bengali Hindus in some pockets. The AGP’s vote bank is in rural Assam, mainly in the Brahmaputra valley.

Meanwhile, news of the BJP leaderships’ decision to go with the AGP triggered protests in Assam as workers of the saffron party ransacked party offices at many places in the state.

In Bongaigaon, BJP workers shouted slogans against the central leadership and ransacked the party office, later setting it ablaze. In Sivasagar and Sonitpur districts, BJP workers protested by ransacking the party’s office at Amguri and Tezpur respectively.

The AGP leaderships also faced flak for the electoral alliance with the BJP. In Nalbari town in lower Assam, AGP workers staged a protest against the decision. Earlier this week, AGP vice-president Durga Das Boro had resigned in protest against the alliance moves and joined the Congress.

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