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Opp not alarmed at new party’s emergence
PRANJAL BHUYAN
 GUWAHATI, Sept 15 - Even as formation of the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) has raised the likelihood of fragmentation of anti-BJP votes in the 2021 Assembly elections, major Opposition parties have discounted the possibility of any adverse impact on their own prospects due to emergence of the new political outfit floated by the AASU and AJYCP.

 “We welcome the formation of AJP, which is ultimately an anti-BJP political force and has emerged from the anti-CAA agitation. We definitely want the new outfit to join the proposed ‘grand alliance’ of anti-BJP parties,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) general secretary Apurba Kumar Bhattacharya told this newspaper on Tuesday.

Asked if emergence of the AJP could lead to division of anti-BJP votes thus facilitating the ruling NDA, Bhattacharya discounted the notion. “Firstly, the new political outfit is anti-BJP. Not only the AJP, even the parties floated by Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and Arup Borbora are all primarily anti-BJP. Secondly, the Congress has a base of its own across Assam, from the State level to the booth level, and it remains intact. Thirdly, formation of a political party and electoral politics are two separate things. A party or an organisation needs time to build up its foundation. Having said that, we hope AJP will become a part of the grand alliance,” said the Congress leader.

The AIUDF also welcomed emergence of the AJP and called upon the new outfit to join the proposed grand alliance. “It is too early to predict what impact the AJP will be able to make in Assam’s politics. Many questions remain unanswered. Who will lead the AJP? What will be its programme and agendas? How strong a base will it be able to create over the next six-seven months before the 2021 elections? In addition, another two-three new regional outfits have been floated in recent weeks. Will the AJP and those outfits be able to come together? This is not the first time that a political party has emerged from the womb of the AASU. The AGP, which also had its origins in the AASU, ruled Assam for two terms and people have both good and bad experiences from the AGP,” said AIUDF general secretary Haidor Hussain Bora.

He claimed that AJP’s emergence will not impact AIUDF’s ‘calculations’.

“We hope the AJP becomes a part of the grand alliance. At the same time, AIUDF’s popularity is solid and intact. Our vote share has increased in every consecutive election since 2006 and we will maintain that trend in the 2021 Assembly polls as well,” Bora said.

The Communist Party of India (Marxist) said that AJP’s emergence will have no adverse impact on the Left.

“It is too early to speculate AJP’s prospects. We will have to wait till AJP holds its political convention in November. The AJP has yet to spell out its economic and political agendas. So far the AJP has spoken out against the BJP, as well as against the Congress and the AIUDF. We do not know what their views are regarding the Left,” CPI(M) central committee member Suprakash Talukdar said.

He, however, added that the CPI(M) is keen to prevent fragmentation of the anti-BJP votes. “And for that all anti-BJP forces should chalk out the necessary strategy,” he said.

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