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Dissension in unified AGP over party posts
Guwahati, Oct 28 (IANS)
Published on 28 Oct. 2008 10:22 PM IST
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Barely a fortnight after the much hyped merger of its breakaway factions, there is dissension within the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), Assam’s main opposition party, over allocation of party positions to various leaders. The differences came to the fore with one of the AGP’s influential tea community leaders, Israel Nanda, resigning from the party’s executive for his non-inclusion in the 25-member steering committee, a decision-making body. “My non-inclusion is fine but the party should have replaced me with another member from the tea garden community. We need to have proper representation in key decision-making bodies in the party,” Nanda said. The AGP tried to downplay the bickering. “This is not a big issue although the media is trying to blow things out of proportions,” AGP leader Apurba Bhattacharyya said. Ahead of the Lok Sabha polls, the AGP has undergone a dramatic transformation that began with the ousting of its president Brindabon Goswami and his replacement by another veteran, Chandra Mohan Patowary. Within weeks of Patowary’s taking charge, the breakaway factions, including the AGP (Progressive) of former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, merged with the AGP. The merger of Mahanta’s AGP (Progressive) with the AGP, which came against the diktat of the powerful All Assam Students Union (AASU), is seen as a desperate bid by the main regional force in the state to defeat the ruling Congress in the 2011 state elections. The AASU has accused Mahanta, the founder president of AGP, of having a hand in the mystery killings of relatives and supporters of militants belonging to the outlawed United Liberation Front of Asom (ULFA) during his tenure as chief minister and of failing to detect and expel illegal Bangladeshi migrants. Three other party leaders close to the ousted president Goswami have also been removed from the steering committee, constituted afresh by Patowary. “They have not come out in the open but they are unhappy,” a party leader said. Leaders of the now disbanded AGP (Progressive) too are reportedly unhappy over the lack of adequate representation in the AGP’s central executive committee and other party forums. AGP (Progressive) leader Mahanta had maintained before the Oct 14 merger that his joining the AGP does not depend on the party giving him a key post. “The people of Assam expressed their desire to see a string regional force to take on the Congress and come up with an alternative. “Personally, I am not bothered whether I am given a party post or not, I shall work for regionalism in Assam,” Mahanta had said.

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