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Leaders, workers switch parties at will
300 join BJP on single day

- A new Innings

Guwahati, March 12: Switching parties seems to be the flavour of this election.

The resignation spree in the AGP continued as more than 150 leaders and workers of the regional party joined the BJP today.

Apart from those from the AGP, 150 more people from other parties also joined the BJP today at a function organised at the party’s state head office here in the presence of Assam BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal and national vice-president Bijoya Chakraborty.

Prominent among AGP leaders who joined the BJP today were the party’s founder member Debadutta Borkotoky, AGP spokesman and lawyer Bijon Mahajan and former general secretary of the AGP’s women wing, Queen Ojha.

Borkotoky blamed autocratic leadership and lack of environment to work for his decision to join the BJP.

Mahajan said, “I started my political career with the AGP and I am grateful to the party for that. But from today I will work for the BJP and today my address has changed from Ambari (where AGP head office is located) to Hengrabari (where BJP state head office is located).”

Among the AGP workers who joined BJP today were 20 members of the AGP’s youth wing, who blamed lack of internal democracy and dictatorial attitude of the central leaders for their decision to join the BJP.

The BJP has got a shot in the arm with several former AGP leaders joining it.

Former AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary, senior AGP leader and former minister Hitendra Nath Goswami and a large number of their supporters were welcomed into the party fold by BJP president Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on Monday.

With the joining of a large number of AGP workers, the BJP is expecting to boost its electoral performance in Assam.

Patowary, a four-time legislator from Dharmapur constituency and a former minister, quit the AGP on Friday. He is being seen a front-runner as the BJP’s nominee from Barpeta.

Both chief minister Tarun Gogoi and BJP leader Venkaiah Naidu today said the Lok Sabha election in Assam would be a straight fight between the Congress and the BJP.

Naidu said the BJP’s decision against pre-poll alliance with AGP would not have adverse impact on their vote share this time.

“Earlier, the vote division was a factor but the AGP is now weak. Their leaders are joining our party and so we hope the people of Assam and the Northeast will vote for us as there is a country-wide wave for change under Narendra Modi,” he said.

Naidu said some regional parties in the Northeast, too, were in touch with BJP to join the BJP-led government after the Lok Sabha election.

Naidu today chaired the election committee meeting here to review the BJP’s arrangement for campaigning, dates of rallies, preparation of regional manifestos, beside others.

“Policy paralysis under the UPA, numerous scams, unemployment, price rise will be the important issues on which BJP will fight the election,” he said.