Asom Gana Parishad hints at snapping pre-poll ties with BJP

Guwahati, Jan 28 (Calcutta Tube) Former Assam chief minister and Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) founder Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has indicated discontinuing the pre-poll understanding with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).

‘We must maintain our secular image and also our regional character. We must understand the desire of the people of Assam in so far as political alignments or re-alignments (are concerned),’ Mahanta told IANS.

The AGP-BJP alliance suffered a humiliating defeat at the hands of the Congress party during the 2001 assembly elections and also in the 2009 parliamentary polls with the AGP winning just one seat and the BJP in four of the 14 seats in Assam.

He said the party would win the 2011 assembly elections only if internal squabbles are stopped and the leadership is able to put up a united fight to topple the ruling Congress.

‘First of all, we have to unite and put up a spirited fight focussing on the main problems in the state, besides resolving any infighting or differences within the party,’ Mahanta said.

The AGP is desperately seeking power after being in political wilderness since the party lost the 2001 assembly elections to the Congress. The party again lost the 2006 state elections, miserably failed to make any mark in the 2004 and 2009 parliamentary polls and the local council elections last year.

‘When a party remains out of power for a long period, obviously it becomes more difficult to bounce back. But I still believe the AGP would be able to win the support of the people of Assam if we are focussed,’ he said.

Mahanta, twice chief minister of the state, re-joined the party in 2008, four years after he was unceremoniously expelled on charges of anti-party activities.

He formed a splinter group called the AGP-Progressive after he was replaced as party president in 2001 on an alleged bigamy charge. Mahanta denied the charge.

There are indications that Mahanta is trying to claw back with a number of AGP leaders backing him for the president’s post.

‘I am ready to take up any position or responsibilities as desired by the party,’ he said.

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