AGP, BJP scout for partners for polls

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS
Tuesday, November 23, 2010

GUWAHATI - Two of Assams main opposition parties, the Asom Gana Parishad(AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), are desperately scouting for potential partners to fight next years assembly elections although there are no visible signs yet of any unified challenge to the ruling Congress that is eyeing a hat trick.

In this age of coalition politics, opposition unity in Assam is a must or else the Congress party could find it easy to bounce back to power once again, BJP’s Assam unit president Ranjit Dutta told IANS.

The AGP, Assams main opposition, recently snapped ties with the BJP, thereby leaving the opposition camp totally disjointed.

We are almost ready to fight the elections alone and very confident of performing well. But at the same time we are also trying to work out some alliance with likeminded regional parties, the BJP president said.

The BJP president was bitter about the AGPs decision to snap ties.

AGPs decision to break the alliance was surprising indeed, Dutta said.

AGP had a seat sharing arrangement with the BJP in the 2009 parliamentary elections but the regional party managed to win just one of the 14 seats, while the BJP grabbed four seats - the AGP in fact was down from two seats in 2004.

AGP, however, is trying to put up a brave front.

The people of Assam are in favour of a regional party to rule Assam considering that the Congress government in the past two successive terms has unleashed a reign of corruption in the state, AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary told IANS.

We are talking with smaller regional parties for some kind of an understanding to fight the elections.

With the opposition camp fractured and no signs yet of any tangible pre-poll tie-ups, some leaders from within the AGP too are worried.

I dont think it was right for the AGP leadership to have snapped the alliance with the BJP, senior AGP leader Atul Bora said.

However, parties like the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) are playing the cat and mouse game.

As of now, we are not talking of any alliance and keen to go alone in the elections. But in politics nothing is ruled out and we are ready to tie up with any secular party other then the BJP and the Congress, AUDF president Badruddin Ajmal said.

It is true that without opposition unity the Congress party could be benefited.

But the Congress seems unfazed.

We are almost sure to win the elections for the third straight term. No combinations can challenge us since we worked during the last two terms for the welfare of the people, Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.

Let the AGP and the BJP look for partners.

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