Saying no to an alliance with the BJP after three months of negotiations, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) Thursday said the saffron party was more interested in wiping out the regional force rather than putting up a strong front against the Congress.
“Three months of negotiations have led us to conclude that the BJP is not interested in any alliance…We tried to help it in putting up a strong front against the Congress. But instead, it seemed to be only trying to wipe out the AGP. Moreover, while we asked for 40 seats out of 126, the BJP was at the most willing to spare only 14. How can you accept that? It was too insulting,” said Atul Bora, president of the AGP.
The AGP and BJP had earlier entered into alliance thrice — the 2001 assembly elections, and the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha elections. “On all three occasions, there was a good vote transfer from the AGP to the BJP, but the reverse did not happen… Given the fact the people of Assam have seen through the false promises of the BJP, many people who had voted for them will now return to our fold,” he said.
Bora also accused the BJP of trying to poach AGP leaders even while the negotiations were on.
The AGP decided to shut the doors on the BJP and go it alone at its Central Committee meeting, as leaders from different constituencies protested outside its office against a tie-up with BJP. “For the AGP, there is no difference between the BJP and the Congress. Both national parties have caused almost equal harm to Assam’s interests. While the Congress is responsible for large-scale influx of Bangladeshis, the BJP not only gave lip-service, but actually went against the Assam Accord by distinguishing infiltrators on religious lines,” said Bora.
He denied speculation about the Congress being the ultimate gainer in AGP’s decision to fight alone. “How can the Congress gain? There is anti-incumbency against both the Congress and the BJP in Assam,” he said.