Assam: BJP, Asom Gana Parishad bury the hatchet, forge alliance

The decision comes just two months after the AGP had severed ties with the BJP and pulled out of the Sarbananda Sonowal government protesting the Centre's Ciitzenship bill.

Published: 13th March 2019 11:51 AM  |   Last Updated: 13th March 2019 02:22 PM   |  A+A-

Ram Madhav

BJP general secretary Ram Madhav (File | EPS)


GUWAHATI: Burying the hatchet, Assam’s ruling BJP and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) have struck an alliance.

The decision was made late Tuesday night at a meeting in a hotel here in the presence of BJP general secretary Ram Madhav, party’s Assam leader Himanta Biswa Sarma, AGP president Atul Bora and its working president Keshab Mahanta. 

The decision comes just two months after the AGP had severed ties with the BJP and pulled out of the Sarbananda Sonowal government protesting the Centre’s move to get the controversial Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 passed in Parliament to grant Indian citizenship to immigrants belonging to six persecuted non-Muslim communities from Bangladesh, Pakistan and Afghanistan.

A section of AGP leaders, including two-time former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, was opposed to the alliance. There are reports the BJP offered governorship to Mahanta in Mizoram. He has denied it. Kummanam Rajasekharan had recently resigned as the Governor of Mizoram.

The BJP and the AGP are likely to discuss seat-sharing arrangement on Wednesday. However, the BJP is understood to have already offered three seats – Kaliabor, Barpeta and Dhubri – to the AGP. If that is the case, it will be a raw deal for the AGP that ruled the state twice between 1985-90 and 1996-2001. 

Barpeta and Dhubri are the strongholds of minority-based All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF). The two seats are currently held by the party’s chief and perfume baron Maulana Badruddin Ajmal (Dhubri) and his brother Sirajuddin Ajmal (Barpeta). 

Similarly, the Kaliabor seat has been held by the family of three-time former CM Tarun Gogoi since 1991. Currently, Gogoi’s son Gaurav Gogoi is the Kaliabor MP.

The BJP reportedly urged AGP leaders Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta and Phani Bhushan Choudhury to return as ministers. They had quit the Sonowal ministry after the AGP had pulled out of the government.

Alliance and the resultant seat-sharing arrangement had done wonders for both parties in the 2016 Assam elections. The BJP had grabbed 60 of the state’s 126 seats to form the government with allies AGP, which had won 15 seats, and Bodoland People’s Front.

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