| Representatives of various parties attend the meeting at the AGP office in Guwahati on Tuesday. Picture by UB Photos |
Guwahati, May 29: The AGP is going all out to ensure success of the May 31 statewide strike against price rise and trying to use it to unite all Opposition parties barring the BJP on “common issues” confronting Assam under the Congress-led government.
Newly appointed president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and working president Atul Bora hinted this at the conclusion of the all-party meeting held at the AGP’s Ambari headquarters here this afternoon.
Representatives of six parties — the AIUDF, CPI, CPM, NCP, SP and BPPF were present at the AGP-convened meeting that lasted nearly 90 minutes. As a result of Mahanta’s orthopaedic problems the meeting was held in a new air-conditioned chamber on the ground floor of the building. Mahanta will take another two months to recover. The highlight of the meeting was the presence of former presidents and working presidents, including Chandramohan Patowary and Phani Bhushan Choudhury.
Mahanta and Bora were visibly happy with the meeting’s outcome and told The Telegraph that the Opposition parties had found common ground in the May 31 strike and would be working on common issues in the future.
“The issues will be identified after the May 31 protest,” Mahanta said. As of now we are concentrating on making the protest against the rise in prices of essential commodities and the Congress’ divisive politics successful, Bora added.
This is the first overt move to unite the Opposition after the AGP’s new elected team took over charge this month.
Opening a channel of communication with Opposition parties on common issues was also a commitment Mahanta made after returning to the helm of party affairs after 10 years. These parties also believe that “together” they can be a “potent force” against the well-entrenched Congress.
“The protest is just the beginning. There are a lot of issues such as power woes, corruption, delay in NRC update, big dams, law and order problem that need to be raised effectively. Since the Opposition has fewer numbers within the Assembly, it has to work hard and together to reach out to the masses. We have printed posters announcing the Assam strike and are interacting with all our district units,” an AGP insider said.
The AGP was routed in the 2011 Assembly elections along with the BJP. The BJP was not invited to today’s meeting. “Their presence would have meant others would skip the meeting,” a candid Mahanta said, indicating that the regional party would be “maintaining” a safe distance from the BJP.
“We have nothing to gain from them,” a party insider said. However, the BJP will be participating in the strike as the leading party in the NDA, which has already called a nationwide bandh on May 31 along with the Left, demanding a rollback of the anti-people hike in prices of petrol. In Assam, prices shot up by over Rs 8 a litre.