GUWAHATI: The Congress' initiative of forming a 'Grand Alliance' to oust the BJP from power in Assam took shape on Tuesday with the party announcing it will contest the forthcoming assembly polls in alliance with five other political outfits.
The Congress will join hands with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), the CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha to ensure that the BJP with its "anti-people policies" does not return to power, APCC president Ripun Bora told reporters here.
"Our doors are open for all anti-BJP parties and we invite the regional political parties to join hands with us against our fight with the BJP," the Rajya Sabha MP said.
The Congress has taken the lead to oust all communal forces in the best interest of the state and the nation, he said.
The party has taken the forthcoming Assam elections "very seriously and deputed senior leaders" to the state, Bora said.
A high-level Congress team, led by Chhattisgarh Chief Minister Bhupesh Baghel, and comprising AICC general secretary Mukul Wasnik, Bihar Congress MLA Shakeel Ahmed, and the party's Assam-in-Charge Jitendra Singh are currently in the state and held discussions with the representatives of the five parties to chalk out the alliance.
"Our central leaders held a series of discussions with the grassroots to state-level functionaries and it was decided to challenge the communal BJP by uniting the anti-BJP forces," he said.
Singh said Congress welcomes all parties to come forward in the interest of saving the culture, language, identity and heritage of the state.
"BJP has indulged in the politics of divide in Assam, the north-east and the country. We will challenge the BJP and defeat them. It is our appeal to all opposition parties to come together to save Assam, ensure the development and realise the dreams of the youth," he said.
He also alleged that the BJP has put up "Assam for sale" by selling off land and the state's resources to businessmen from Gujarat and other states.
"The coming together of the six parties is without any pre-condition but merely with a motive to save Assam from the BJP, which has made a mockery of democracy," Singh added.
AIUDF general secretary Aminul Islam said that after a long wait, six parties have come together, and "we welcome this initiative".
"This is an effort to defeat the communal forces and maintain harmony among all sections of people in the state," he said.
Rajya Sabha MP and Anchalika Gana Morcha president Ajit Kumar Bhuyan said this was a "historic moment as it is the demand of the times and the people that a united opposition comes together to oust the BJP".
CPI(M) leader Deben Bhattacharya appealed to the Bodoland Peoples' Front (BPF), an ally in the ruling BJP-led state government, which was dumped by the saffron party in the recent Bodoland Territorial Council polls, to join the alliance.
The initiative for a 'Grand Alliance' was taken by three-time former chief minister Tarun Gogoi, who had started discussions with opposition parties to take this forward.
His death due to post-COVID complications in November had delayed the process.
The Congress, which had ruled the state for three terms since 2001, and had won 26 out of the 126 legislative assembly seats in 2016, now has only 20 members in the House.