Assam chief minister slams AGP-BJP alliance

By Syed Zarir Hussain, IANS,
Guwahati : Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi has termed the tie-up between the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) ahead of general elections as an alliance of two “betrayers”.

“The two (AGP and BJP) betrayers have come together and so the task for us this time has become easy. I bet the Congress will be able to win more seats than in 2004,” Gogoi told IANS in an interview.

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The Congress won nine of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in 2004 while an independent MP from Assam later went on to support the Congress-led United Progressive Alliance government in New Delhi.

Gogoi accused BJP’s prime ministerial candidate L.K. Advani of using terror attacks to garner votes.

“Advani came to Assam during the Oct 30 serial explosions and sought votes for the party. He played politics during an hour of crisis,” he said.

“Their (BJP) national vice president Bijoya Chakraborty (former MP from Assam) went against all human values and Hindu principles by taking out a procession on the day of the explosions with dead bodies on handcarts. This is nothing but playing politics over dead bodies.”

Terming the BJP in Assam as a “party of non-Assamese businesspeople”, the chief minister claimed that it had no organizational base in the state.

“The alliance by the AGP is nothing but a total sell-out and surrender by the regional party before the BJP. Being the party with the second highest number of MLAs in the assembly after the Congress, the AGP’s decision to allow the BJP to become the senior partner in the Lok Sabha elections is a shame,” Gogoi said.

The chief minister said the final list of Congress candidates for the April 16-23 ballot in Assam will be announced in a day or two.

“All I can say is that even sitting Congress MPs are not guaranteed to get ticket this time. It is sure the list will include new faces and women candidates,” Gogoi said.

With development as the poll mantra, the Congress will avoid roping in film stars for campaigning in Assam.

“I don’t believe in glamour or stars making any impact (on voters). We will go about exposing the AGP-BJP alliance and highlight our achievements to the people,” the chief minister said.