The alliance between the BJP and AGP has set off protests in various districts, with some local leaders on either side threatening to float new groups to contest the elections.
In Guwahati, a group of AGP workers from Rangiya, Kalaigaon, Biswanath, Dhakuakhana, Chabua, Margherita and Nalbari ransacked the party headquarters Saturday demanding that either the alliance be scrapped or that the AGP get more seats than the 24 agreed. In Rangiya, which had thrice elected former AGP president Thaneswar Boro, local leaders threatened to float a new party called AGP (Anchalik).
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BJP workers staged demonstrations in Sivasagar, Sarupathar, Tezpur and Bongaigaon. In Sarupathar, given to the AGP, BJP leaders including the block president and the secretary resigned and threatened to launch a new party called Trinamool BJP.
The 24 seats given to the AGP include Kamalpur and Patacharkuchi, where the BJP has sitting MLAs. On the other hand, the BJP kept AGP-held Biswanath and Kalaigaon.
“Why should my constituency be taken away after I won in 2011 even when the Congress won a record 78 seats?” said Prabin Hazarika, AGP MLA from Biswanath. “I will not take it lying down. I will contest as an independent if the party does not do anything,” Hazarika said. Kalaigaon AGP legislator Mukunda Ram Choudhury too has threatened to contest as an independent.
BJP legislator Jadab Deka, whose Kamalpur constituency has gone to the AGP, has threatened to field his wife as an independent if the party does not change its decision. “I am the leader of the party’s legislature party, and this is what I have been rewarded with for my work,” Deka said.
“We are soon forming a new party called Trinamool BJP through which we will contest all the 24 seats the BJP has left for the AGP,” said Sarupathar block BJP president Tularam Saikia. Disgruntled party workers removed the BJP signboard and flag from its block-level office and put up a new one.
In Tezpur, BJP workers protested because the seat was given to the AGP, whose workers, in turn, hit out at former MLA Brindaban Goswami for allegedly agreeing to the alliance because he was ensured a ticket there.
Leaders of both parties were optimistic that tempers would cool down. “There is no party where you don’t find such problems. But this is not going to last long as we are reaching out to the protesting leaders and explaining to them that the immediate need is to crush the Congress,” said BJP Northeast spokesman and former state president Siddhartha Bhattacharyya.
AGP president Atul Bora issued an appeal to his party workers to understand the ground realities and respect the “wish” of the people of Assam to dislodge the Congress and install a government that really thinks of and works for solving the burning problems of Assam. “This anger is natural but temporary. Yes, there are some genuine grievances here and there, but we have asked our party workers to look at the larger interest,” Bora told The Indian Express.