Allies upbeat in Assam, but murmurs prevail

AGP team to meet Shah on seat deal

  • Published 15.03.19, 11:21 PM
  • Updated 15.03.19, 11:21 PM
  • 2 mins read
AGP and BJP leaders at the BJP head-office in Guwahati on Friday The Telegraph picture

North East Democratic Alliance (Neda) convener and Assam minister Himanta Biswa Sarma on Friday said Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) leaders will hold talks with BJP national president Amit Shah in Delhi on Saturday to finalise the seat-sharing deal.

Sarma said the AGP had already had a round of discussion with BJP national general secretary in-charge of Northeast Ram Madhav recently and an AGP delegation, led by its president Atul Bora, will travel to Delhi on Saturday to give a final shape to the seat-sharing arrangement with the BJP for the parliamentary polls.

“The AGP leaders will meet Shah before the BJP’s central parliamentary board meeting on Saturday,” he said.

According to sources, the BJP will leave the Dhubri, Barpeta and Kaliabor seats for the AGP and the Kokrajhar seat for another alliance partner, the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF).

Assam BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass also left for Delhi on Friday evening to submit the panel of names of probable candidates for 10 Lok Sabha seats in the state to the party’s central leadership for selection. The panel of names was cleared by the party’s state election committee on Thursday.

After the BJP central parliamentary board meeting, Shah will formally announce its alliance with the AGP and also the names of the BJP candidates for the 10 Lok Sabha seats in Assam.

A team of AGP leaders visited the BJP office at Hengerabari here on Friday and held a discussion with the BJP state leadership.

Dass said the BJP-AGP-BPF alliance would win at least 12 of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam.

He said the BJP would work in unison with all its allies, including the Rabha Joutha Sangram Samiti, the Tiwa Jatiya Aikya Mancha and the Sanmilita Gana Shakti Asom, to achieve the common goal of making Narendra Modi the Prime Minister for a second consecutive term.

“We had contested the 2016 Assembly polls together. This time, too, we will fight the elections together,” Dass said.

Bora said that in 2016 they had joined hands with the BJP to end the 15-year-long “corruption and misrule of the Congress” and this time they have come together to defeat a common enemy. “We may have differences over some issues but we will contest the elections on common issues,” he said.

Bora said they would ensure the respective votes for both the parties are transferred to the common candidates.

Sarma said the AGP and the BJP state presidents will address campaign meetings jointly in certain constituencies. He said the BJP and the AGP will resolve their differences over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2019, through “consultation and consensus” by sitting across the table.

He said the BJP, the AGP and the BPF would issue a common statement before the polls.

Sarma, as well as Bora, however, refused to comment on former chief minister and AGP legislator Prafulla Kumar Mahanta’s opposition to the alliance.