Dates for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls have been announced. The seven-phase polls will commence on April 11 and therefore, there is little less than a month to go for the polls. The BJP has got a massive shot in the arm in the run up to the Parliamentary polls as far as the state of Assam is concerned, even as the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has joined hands with the BJP yet again.
The AGP had parted ways with the BJP a couple of months ago over the issue of the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill. However, now the two parties are coming together for a pre-poll alliance in the run up to the 2019 Lok Sabha elections. BJP General Secretary, Ram Madhav said, “The BJP together with AGP and Bodo People’s Front (BPF) will contest the next parliament elections. We will together ensure that Congress party is defeated in all the 14 seats of the state and we win all of them.” AGP President, Atul Bora, also spoke about the alliance and said, “We had a fruitful discussion with Ram Madhav and decided to come together to defeat the Congress. All other details will be revealed to you later.” A formal announcement of the poll coalition is expected to take place on Wednesday.
As of now, there is no clarity about the number of seats from which the AGP is going to contest elections. It seems that a decision as to seat-sharing will be taken in the coming days. The Bodo People’s Front (BPF) has already named State Minister Pramila Rani Brahma as its candidate from Kokrajhar.
The BJP is in an alliance with the BDF and the AGP which makes the NDA a united and vigorous force in the state of Assam. On the other hand, the opposition parties in the form of Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and the Congress do not seem likely to enter an alliance. Recent reports say that Senior Assam Congress leaders Gautam Roy, Kirip Chaliha are likely to join the BJP as well. Defecting leaders is becoming one of the Congress’ salient problems all over the country. Gautam Roy and Kirip Chaliha are both considerably influential in the State of Assam and could prove to be important assets for the BJP if they so in fact chose to join their hands with it.
Ajmal reportedly said, “There is no clarity. I can’t say that we haven’t spoken; neither can I say that we have, because I don’t trust them. If I say something, they will come out and deny it.” This remark borders on denial and clearly shows that things do not seem good between the Congress and the AIDUF at all. When asked about the prospect of coalition, Debabrata Saikia, president of Congress’ Assam unit said, “I am not aware. Our leadership will take a call.”
Assam will go to polls in the first phase of Lok Sabha polls itself. Voting will take place in the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies of the state across the first three phases of the Lok Sabha polls itself. As of now, the BJP enjoys a position of strength in the state. In Assam rural polls towards the fag end of last year, the BJP had surged ahead of all other parties in the state even though the AGP had contested the polls independently. Earlier this year, the BJP managed to continue its winning streak in Assam as the party emerged victorious in the state’s tribal council elections. Despite protests against the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill 2016, the BJP won a majority of seats in the autonomous tribal council polls.
The BJP, the AGP and the BDF had contested the 2016 Assam polls in an alliance. The BJP led coalition had managed to grab 86 seats in the 126-member assembly. Therefore, the alliance had swept the polls with a decisive majority. The 15-year old Congress rule ended as the Grand Old Party was reduced to a meager 26 seats. BJP had managed to win 60 seats on its own.
It is clear that the BJP becomes far stronger in an alliance with the AGP. This must have sent the warning bells ringing for the Rahul Gandhi-led party as far as the state of Assam is concerned. It seems that the BJP is all set to sweep Assam in the upcoming Parliamentary polls in a historic manner.
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