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Thursday, December 09 2021

India

Congress in Assam forges alliance with 2 local parties for by-polls

Guwahati: After dumping two of its old allies — AIUDF and BPF, the opposition Congress in Assam will now forge an alliance with the Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal to take on the ruling BJP in the October 30 by-polls to the 6 Assembly seats.

Assam state Congress President Bhupen Kumar Borah said that of the six seats, Majuli will be left to the AJP while the Bhawanipur seat is likely to be given to Raijor Dal even as a final decision was expected from the party President Akhil Gogoi.

By-election for the Majuli seat, which fell vacant after former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was elected unopposed to the Rajya Sabha on September 27, might be announced soon and discussions were held on the election related issues for all the six constituencies at a party meet, Borah added.

The Election Commission on September 28 announced the by-polls to Gossaigaon, Tamulpur, Bhabanipur, Mariani and Thowra which will take place on October 30.

Borah and AJP President Lurinjyoti Gogoi emphasised the “need to defeat the divisive agenda of the BJP, which was dabbling in communal politics only for electoral gain”.

Gogoi expressed the need for all like-minded opposition parties to come forward “to stem this destructive communal tide unleashed by BJP on the people of Assam”.

“The systems of purchase of MLAs would keep democratic traditions in bondage and this is dangerous for all of us. The need of the hour is to create an environment in Assam which is free from communal politics and agenda of hate,” the AJP President said.

The AJP and the Raijor Dal together fought the March-April Assembly polls but only Akhil Gogoi was elected to the assembly.

The Congress, which ruled Assam for 15 years (2001-2016), managed to get 29 seats in the March-April Assembly elections, three more than the 2016 polls, when it lost power in the state to the BJP.

Of the other partners of the Congress led 10-party ‘Mahajot’ (grand alliance), the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) won 16 seats, the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) got four seats, and the Communist Party of India-Marxist won just one seat.

The Assam Congress last month announced that the Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF and tribal-based party BPF would no longer be partners of the ‘Mahajot’ in the state.

In the March-April Assembly polls, the Congress had left the Bhabanipur seat to the AIUDF while the Gossaigaon seat was contested by the BPF.

Recently, four-time Congress MLA from Mariani, Rupjyoti Kurmi and two-time party legislator from Thowra, Sushanta Borgohain resigned from the party and joined the BJP.

Phanidhar Talukdar, the lone Hindu MLA of the Muslim-based AIUDF from Bhabanipur, had resigned from the Assembly before recently joining the BJP.

Tamulpur MLA Leho Ram Boro of the UPPL and Gossaigaon legislator Majendra Narzary of the BPF died of Covid-19.

BJP sources said that the party would field candidates in four seats and leave the Tamulpur constituency for UPPL.

The party’s state unit chief Bhabesh Kalita has claimed that the BJP would win all the five seats in the by-elections.

In the 126-member Assam Assembly, the BJP won 60 seats, which is similar to the number it won five years ago.

BJP allies Asom Gana Parishad won nine seats against 14 previous time, while the new alliance partner, UPPL, got six seats.

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