AGP seeks regional unity to fight Congress in 2011 Assam polls


Guwahati : Assam’s main opposition Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has sounded the poll bugle for the 2011 assembly elections by stressing on the need to unite all regional forces to stop the ruling Congress party from coming back to power for the third straight term.

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“Time has come for all anti-Congress forces to unite ahead of the 2011 assembly elections in Assam and so we have entrusted our party president Chandra Mohan Patowary to open channels of communication for a broad regional unity,” senior AGP leader Atul Bora told IANS.

The decision to try and forge unity of regional parties was taken at the AGP’s steering committee meeting that ended late Wednesday.

The AGP entered into a seat sharing understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) during the last general elections and the two parties announced publicly to continue the tie up till the 2011 assembly polls.

But the AGP-BJP tie-up failed to pay dividends in the April-May Lok Sabha polls with the AGP winning just one of the 14 seats compared to two seats the regional party had won in 2004.

The AGP-BJP alliance received yet another setback when they lost both seats in the recently held by-elections to the state assembly.

After the electoral reverses, AGP workers and supporters, including several of their senior leaders, went public with their call to sever ties with the BJP.

“No decision has yet been taken on snapping ties with the BJP,” Bora said.

Meanwhile, sensing the belligerent mood of the AGP supporters, the Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF), a minority based party that has 11 members in the 126 member legislature and is the third major party, offered to ally with the AGP ahead of the assembly polls.

“If a formal proposal comes from the AUDF, the party would discuss the offer,” AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said.

The AGP lost the assembly polls in 2001 (the party then had an alliance with the BJP), then again in 2006 (AGP fought the elections alone), besides losing the local council elections, fared poorly in the Lok Sabha polls, and more recently the by-elections in two seats.

“We are already opening informal talks with several opposition parties,” Bora said.

The AGP, meanwhile, will launch a fortnight long anti-government campaign from Nov 25 to drum up support against alleged corruption and price rise of essential commodities.