The BJP is exploring possibilities of an alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad — its former partner — and the Bodoland People’s Front in poll-bound Assam. With differing political ideologies and areas of influence, the AGP and BPF find a common cause in opposing illegal immigration from Bangladesh. Traditionally, this has also been one of the main planks of the BJP in border states on the eastern front.
Leaders involved in negotiations told HT that initial rounds of talks between the BJP and the two parties have taken place and there is a lot of ‘positivity’ on both sides.
“If we could come together, it would be a formidable alliance against the ruling Congress,” said a BJP leader privy to the matter.
BPF chairman Hagrama Mohilary, also the chief executive member of Bodoland Territorial Council, had a meeting with PM Narendra Modi in Delhi on Saturday. Sports minister and Assam BJP chief Sarbananda Sonowal was also present and sources claimed the talks were not limited to just “administrative issues” related to the territorial council. The BPF was part of the Tarun Gogoi government in Assam before it snapped ties in June last year. AGP working president Atul Bora was also in Delhi on Sunday and reportedly had consultations with a BJP interlocutor.
In 2011, when they went separately, the BJP won five seats of the total of 126. The AGP got 10 and the BPF 12 seats respectively. Together, the three parties polled over 33% votes, nearly six per cent short of the Congress’ share.
In its own assessment, the BJP did not do well last time as Gogoi managed to present himself as the political force who could prevent the rise of AIDUF leader Badruddin Ajmal, who holds considerable influence over Muslim-dominated areas.
BJP leaders argue their support base among Hindu voters shifted to Gogoi when an impression was created that it could even tie up with Ajmal if there was a need to form government after the polls.
BJP leaders argue this election would be different. There are talks about a possible alliance between Congress and Ajmal and such a development would be to the BJP’s advantage. Even otherwise, the electoral invincibility of Gogoi has gone and their alliance with the AGP and BPF, if it takes shape, would be the front runner.