‘AIUDF no longer part of grand alliance’: Assam Congress decides ahead of bypolls in state
Putting rest to speculations in past weeks, opposition Congress in Assam decided on Monday to sever ties with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), which was part of the ‘mahajot’ (grand alliance) of 10 parties formed before the assembly polls in the state this year.
The decision came at the core committee meeting of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) held in Guwahati ahead of the by-election to six assembly constituencies in the state.
“The committee observed that ‘mahajot’ alliance partner AIUDF’s behaviour and attitude in relation to the Bharatiya Janata Party has baffled Congress party members. The AIUDF leadership’s and senior members’ continuous and mysterious praise of the BJP and the chief minister has affected public perception of Congress party,” a resolution adopted by the meeting read.
“The core committee members of the APCC unanimously decided that the AIUDF can no longer remain an alliance partner of ‘mahajot’ and in this regard will send intimation to All India Congress Committee (AICC),” it added.
Congress, AIUDF, Bodoland Peoples’ Front (BPF) and seven other parties were part of the ‘mahajot’ formed to counter the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party. While Congress won 29 seats, AIUDF bagged 16, BPF won 4 and CPM bagged 1 seat—taking the grand alliance to 50 seats. On the other hand, BJP and its allies won 75 seats and returned to power for the second consecutive term.
“The Congress is free to make decisions regarding their party, but we would term their decision to sever ties with us as a historical blunder. We had allied with Congress to oppose BJP’s communal agenda in the assembly polls,” said Md Aminul Islam, MLA and organising sectary of the AIUDF.
“Congress can’t accuse us of having nexus with the BJP. Instead, today’s decision was the outcome of pro-BJP elements within Congress. It was a BJP strategy to use Sivasagar MLA and Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi to break our alliance. They become successful in that and Congress was the loser,” he added.
In recent weeks, several Congress leaders have expressed that the party should sever ties with the AIUDF and instead try and include Raijor Dal in the alliance.
Monday’s core committee meeting also decided that since the BPF had “already expressed their unwillingness in various forums to remain in the ‘mahajot”, it authorized APCC president Bhupen Borah to decide on the continuation of the party’s ties with BPF.
By-elections to six seats are expected to take place in the coming weeks. Two seats were left vacant after the deaths of a BPF and a United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL) member due to Covid-19 while two Congress leaders moved to the BJP. Former chief minister and Majuli MLA Sarbananda Sonowal joined the union cabinet and an AIUDF legislator is speculated to join BJP this week.
Monday’s meeting reiterated the earlier decision to give full authority to the APCC president, along with working presidents and chairman of assembly seats constituted for the forthcoming by-elections to take decisions on election strategy, candidate selection etc.
The meeting blamed the BJP-led government for failing on all fronts including resolution of border disputes with neighbouring states, management of Covid-19 and resolved to organize mass protests throughout the state in the coming days.