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AGP, AIUDF mull alliance

- Attempt to keep Cong, BJP at bay

Guwahati/Silchar, Jan. 15: The AGP and the AIUDF appear open to a post-poll political adjustment despite both the Opposition parties sticking to their go-it-alone stand in the three-phase panchayat elections starting January 30.

AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam told The Telegraph here this evening that there have been no talks of pre-poll alliance with any party for the panchayat polls but anything can happen post-poll to keep the Congress and the BJP at bay from forming the rural bodies.

“No decision has also been taken on the 2014 Lok Sabha or the 2016 Assembly elections as yet because our stand is ‘ekla chalo re’ as of now. But post-poll, we may go for tie-up with any like-minded secular parties such as the Left and the AGP. Our anti-BJP and anti-Congress stand remains,” Islam said while reacting to AGP president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta’s statement in Silchar that he did not rule out the possibility of his party forming an alliance with the AIUDF in the run-up to the Lok Sabha and state Assembly elections. Mahanta had also said his party would no longer consider the AIUDF an “untouchable entity”, besides acknowledging that his party had made “strategic blunders” by joining forces with the BJP, and hence had decided not to “burn its prospects” again by forging any poll tie-ups with the “rightist party”.

Holding the Congress and the BJP as its main adversaries, Mahanta, however, chose to play safe by not making any comment when asked if the AGP would consider the AIUDF as an “avowedly communal” party. AGP office-bearers, however, told The Telegraph that there has been no change in the party’s stand decided at the last central executive as well as the general council before that about having no tie-up with any party either in the panchayat or the general and Assembly elections to follow. The “anti-BJP and anti-Congress line” is being seen as a common ground for both the parties, which are also not attacking each other in public.

AGP sources last night disclosed that the AGP president, during his trip to Algapur, met Mehnaz Shahid Choudhury, daughter of deceased AGP legislator Shahidul Choudhury from Algapur, and a few AIUDF leaders there and discussed the prospects of his party in the panchayat polls there. Bypoll to the Algapur seat will be held on February 24. Sources also said there could a be tacit understanding between the two parties, pointing to the non-fielding of candidates by the AIUDF in four Upper Assam constituencies — Tinsukia, Dibrugarh, Sivasagar and Jorhat — and only a few candidates in Golaghat, all districts considered important for the AGP.

Islam said, “We are concentrating only in our capital areas as we are a relatively new party with limited resources.” The AIUDF was floated in 2005. In Silchar, Mahanta had said there were signs that the minorities in the state, fed up with discrimination by the Tarun Gogoi-government on the “Boroland” issue, were again tilting towards the AGP. He declared that his party would make further in-roads into the minority pockets to steal the thunder from both Congress and the AIUDF, which had dislodged the AGP as the principal Opposition party by bagging 18 seats in the 2011 Assembly elections to the latter’s 10.