Assam gears up for pre-poll alliances
Two recently floated regional outfits — Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal — are inching towards a pre-poll alliance in their effort to oust the ruling BJP in the Assembly polls to save the “Assamese society and language”.
Both the parties, formed late last year, have been making overtures to work together to check communal and anti-Assam forces following sustained demands from several quarters for a united regional front to check the ruling BJP coalition.
This was more than evident when AJP’s secretary Chittaranjan Basumatary attended the Raijor Dal’s first convention held in Moran early this month and AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi told a public meeting in Nagaon district on Saturday about being open to an alliance with Raijor Dal and other non-communal parties.
However, these moves acquired a formal shape on Sunday with Raijor Dal working president Bhasco De Saikia revealing that a proposal has been sent to the AJP president and they are hopeful of a joint meeting to discuss the alliance issue to save the state from communal forces.
“We have sent a formal alliance proposal to the AJP president since our common objective is to defeat the communal BJP and save Assam, Assamese society and Assamese language. This is the need of the hour. We are hopeful of positive feedback soon. We are also in talks with the BPF (Bodoland People’s Front) and the ASDC (Autonomous State Demand Committee),” Saikia said.
He also said they are against “communal” forces such as the BJP and the AIUDF and parties having anything to do with them.
The Congress is trying to stitch an alliance with the AIUDF but there is opposition from within the party against any such move.
Saikia also said that Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi is likely to contest from two constituencies — Sivasagar and Teok — in Upper Assam.
Akhil is in jail since his arrest on December 12, 2019, during the peak of the anti-Citizenship Amendment Act protest in Assam but Saikia was hopeful of his release by February.
“He is an inspiration. He will continue to lead from jail. He will contest from behind bars if he is not released. Everybody protested against the CAA but they targeted only Akhil Gogoi! He is being kept in jail because the ruling party is afraid of him,” he said.
Saikia said apart from committing an inclusive, safe and developed Assam, they will also make the detention of Akhil a poll plank.
AJP president Lurinjyoti on Sunday reiterated that he supported alliances with non-communal and regional forces, including Raijor Dal. He ruled out any tie-up with the Congress which is trying to woo both the regional outfits. Many believe the two parties could hurt the prospects of the BJP, the AGP and the Congress in Upper Assam.
“Proposal or no proposal, we are working towards an alliance with Raijor Dal,” Lurinjyoti said on the sidelines of a function.
Reacting to the development, BJP chief spokesperson Rupam Goswami said the real regional force, Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), is with the ruling party. The AGP is a constituent of the BJP-led state government.
“All these developments have vindicated what the BJP has been saying all this while that the anti-CAA movement was a political movement to sway the people. But they are with us. Raijor Dal is an offshoot of the KMSS (Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti) and their leader Akhil Gogoi believes in Leftist ideology,” Goswami said.
The KMSS, the AASU (All Assam Students Union) and the AJYCP (Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad) were at the forefront of the anti-CAA movement. While the KMSS is backing the Raijor Dal, the AASU backed the formation of the AJP. The Congress is looking to ally with all anti-BJP forces.
Referring to Saturday evening’s high tea hosted by Opposition leader Debabrata Saikia of the Congress, where leaders of the AIUDF, the Left parties and the Anchalik Gana Morcha participated, Goswami said: “What message are they trying to send? The Congress-Communist-communal forces have all got together while the AJP is also getting close to them despite its public denial.”