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AGP in a dilemma over poll tie-up with BJP
AJIT PATOWARY
 GUWAHATI, Jan 25 – The regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is presently in a dilemma over the issue of its electoral alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) for the coming Lok Sabha elections. The party is learnt to have been trying to resolve the issue shortly.

 The indecision of the regional party on the issue became evident with the recent statement made by its president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta in New Delhi. “I am not ruling out nor ruling in. Let us discuss among ourselves first. Neither BJP approached us nor we have gone to them for any alliance yet,” he had said, as was reported by a section of the print media on Wednesday.

Party sources said that though the party is divided on the issue of forging an alliance with the BJP, with a good section of its leaders favouring a deal, the overriding compulsion felt by most of the party leaders is that an electoral alliance with the saffron party may augur well for the party as far as its electoral prospect is concerned.

However, a considerable number of the regional party leaders is averse to the idea of forging an alliance with the saffron party because of the lessons they had learnt from the alliance their party had in the 2009 Lok Sabha polls. That time, the BJP flourished on the AGP votes, but the BJP votes were not transferred to the AGP account, they argued.

Party working president Atul Bora told this correspondent that the party is yet to arrive at a decision on the issue and their recent meeting with BJP national president Rajnath Singh had nothing to do with the electoral alliance. As members of the NE Regional Parties’ Forum (NERPF) they met the BJP president with a request to take up the issues raised by the Forum with the Central Government, Bora said.

According to some other sources in the regional party, former AGP president Chandramohan Patowary is in touch with the BJP national president to lobby for the alliance.

Patowary, who is likely to be fielded by the party for the Barpeta Lok Sabha seat, is learnt to have been expressing his unwillingness to fight the Lok Sabha elections without an electoral alliance with the BJP.

When contacted, Patowary told this correspondent that an AGP-BJP alliance may reduce Congress’ seats. This may also restrict the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) from getting more seats, he said.

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