AGP joins hands with BJP again; likely to contest 3 seats in Assam
After parting ways two months ago in protest against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) sealed a pre-poll alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) late on Tuesday night to contest the Lok Sabha election 2019.
After a meeting that lasted several hours at a premier hotel, BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav told the media in Guwahati around midnight about the agreement between the two parties.
“The BJP together with AGP and Bodo People’s Front (BPF) will contest the next parliament elections. We will together ensure that Congress party is defeated in all the 14 seats of the state and we win all of them,” Madhav said.
“We had a fruitful discussion with Ram Madhav and decided to come together to defeat the Congress. All other details will be revealed to you later,” AGP president Atul Bora told journalists.
A formal announcement is expected on Wednesday.
Though it was speculated that the two former parties might come together again, several state leaders of both parties had denied any such possibility as there were “insurmountable differences among cadres of both”.
The AGP and BJP had contested the 2016 assembly election together.
Three ministers of the party had quit the coalition government in January opposing the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill stating it would violate the Assam Accord of 1985 which was aimed at detecting and deporting illegal immigrants. They are expected to take charge of their ministries soon.
While the bill was passed in the Lok Sabha, it wasn’t tabled in the Rajya Sabha in the last session before polls. The BJP has since reiterated that it will bring the legislation again if voted to power.
Both parties had contested the recent ‘panchayat’ polls in the state separately where the BJP had emerged victorious.
People in Assam will vote in three phases from April 11 to April 23 in the 14 Lok Sabha seats of the state.
It is not clear yet on how many seats the AGP will be given and in how many will the BJP will field its own candidates. The Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) has already named state minister Pramila Rani Brahma as its nominee from Kokrajhar.
According to speculations, the AGP would field candidates from the Koliabar and Barpeta seats and could get the Dhubri seat as well.
The BJP also held talks with several of its allies in the northeast on Tuesday that have led to the formation of a ‘grand alliance’ to defeat the Congress. Madhav held meetings in Dimapur and Guwahati with chief ministers of BJP-led governments in Assam, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and the heads of coalition governments in Nagaland and Meghalaya before sealing the deals.
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