Assam: AGP-BJP alliance emerges as headache to Cong

The party campaign in Northeast will focus on the infiltration from the neighbouring Bangladesh, the increasing terror menace and its impact on the society, and the development of the alienated region-Nava Thakuria
As the election waves gain momentum throughout India, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) suddenly emerges as an important entity (rival) for the ruling Congress coalition government in Assam. Soon after the regional political party of the State had tied an electoral alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP), the Congress leaders including the State chief minister Tarun Gogoi started making too noisy and callous comments against the leaders of the party.
If an influential minister of the Gogois cabinet, Himanta Bishwa Sarma condemned the understanding between AGP and BJP as a shame for the regional politics, the other minister Pradyut Bordoloi termed it an unsuccessful relationship. Even the Assam Pradesh Congress chief Bhubaneswar Kalita forecast their (AGP-BJP) failure in the forthcoming general election and the chief minister came out with statements that the AGP had damaged the future of regional politics (making relationship with the communal BJP) in this part of the country.
Assam goes to polls on April 16 & 23, as the country embraces five-phased Lok Sabha election (between April 16 and May 13). There were some initial resentments among the political parties and general people for the first date, as it coincides with the Bohag or Rongali Bihu, but slowly it got diminished. The revised electoral rolls by the Election Commission of India dentify 17,468, 958 voters eligible (in Assam) for exercising their franchises to form the 15th Lok Sabha (the lower house of Indian Parliament).
It may be mentioned that the main opposition party of Assam, the AGP had finalized a pre-poll alliance with BJP leadership for the Lok Sabha polls in the first week of March. The deal was finalized in New Delhi in presence of the BJP president Rajnath Singh, their prime ministerial candidate LK Advani, the AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary and its working president Phani Bhushan Choudhury.
Commenting on the alliance, Advani said it would not only affect the electoral scenario of Assam, but of the entire Northeast (total 24 Lok Sabha constituencies). He also termed the AGP as a party being born out of a nationalist movement and also gained experience of ruling twice in the State.
The regional party, which was given birth after the end of historic Assam agitation by All Assam Students Union, came to power two times (1985 to 1989 and 1996 to 2001) at Dispur. However they could not perform to fulfill the expectations of the mainstream Assamese and later faced the splitting and defeat against the Congress.
The first split occurred in March 1991, when Bhrigu Kumar Phukan, Pulakesh Barua, Dinesh Goswami with many others formed Natun Asom Gana Parishad. Later they returned back to the party in 1992. Then Atul Bora formed Trinamool Gana Parishad in 2000 and finally Prafulla Kumar Mahanta constitutes his party, Asom Gana Parishad (Progressive) in 2005. Finally all the breakaway groups came together in October 2008.
The responsibility to lead the new look AGP was put on Patowary. The AGP had already announced the list of six its candidates for the general election. The list includes the sitting MPs Sarbananda Sonowal (Dibrugarh parliamentary constituency) and Arun Kumar Sarma (Lakhimpur) with the tea tribe leader Joseph Toppo (Tezpur), Bhupen Rai (Barpeta), Sabda Rabha (Kokrajhar) and the former State minister Gunin Hazarika (Koliabor).
The BJP is supposed to field their candidates in the rest of eight constituencies including the prestigious Guwahati seat, which was won by the Congress in 2004 general election. The party, which decides to go to polls this time with the slogan Mazbut Neta Aur Nirnayak Sarkar (strong leader and decisive government), has also decided to contest for two seats in Tripura, two in Arunachal Pradesh and one in Manipur. The party campaign in Northeast will focus on the infiltration from the neighbouring Bangladesh, the increasing terror menace and its impact on the society, and the development of the alienated region, informed the Assam BJP chief Ramen Deka.