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Assam AGP-BJP in secret seat sharing deal?
Published on 8 Mar. 2011 12:16 AM IST
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A blazing row has erupted in Assam over reports that the opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has struck a secret seat sharing deal with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) for next month’s assembly polls, leading to violent protests and a spate of resignations. In public, both parties are maintaining there was no question of an alliance and that they would fight the elections independently.
But doubts cropped up after the second list of BJP candidates was announced over the weekend - BJP workers and supporters turned violent when they realised the leadership had fielded little known candidates in constituencies held by the AGP or in some seats where the regional party has potentially stronger candidates.
On Sunday, the BJP suffered a body blow, with three-time MP Rajen Gohain resigning as vice chairman of the party’s election campaign committee. Gohain’s resignation comes in the wake of hundreds of BJP supporters vandalizing the party state headquarters in Guwahati for fielding “weak candidates”. Such was the situation that riot police had to be called in and the top leadership fled the office on Saturday and stayed away even on Sunday.
“I am mentally disturbed to find none of the senior leaders present at the office to listen to the aggrieved party supporters. I take moral responsibility for the incident as my feelings are with the aggrieved workers,” Gohain, MP from Nagaon, said in his resignation letter. Another senior BJP leader and party spokesperson Charan Deka was the next casualty - he resigned from the party over the issue of a “secret AGP-BJP deal”. “I have decided to resign from the party as I think the decision to field weak candidates against some of the AGP leaders would be like digging our own graves. I think the BJP might not even cross the double digit mark in the elections going by the present set of candidates chosen by the BJP to fight the polls,” Deka told IANS.
“A secret deal has been struck by the two parties.” Elections for the 126-member legislature are scheduled for April 4 and 11.But the BJP denies allegations of any secret seat sharing with the AGP.
“We are not going to review the list of candidates already announced and any indiscipline within the party would not be tolerated,” said Vijay Goel, BJP national general secretary and party in-charge for Assam.
Mahanta in AGP
list of candidates
Former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta and ex-party president Brindabon Goswami were among the prominent names in Opposition AGP’s second list of candidates for the assembly elections next month.
Announcing the list, AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary said other major contestants are Deputy Speaker Nurul Hussain (Hajo) and former ministers Phanibhusan Choudhury (Bongaigaon), Pradip Hazarika (Amguri), Girindra Kumar Baruah (Nagaon), Ramendra Narayan Kalita (West Guwahati), Kamala Kanta Kalita (Chaygaon), Binode Gowala (Sarupathar) and Bhaben Barua (Chabua).
Mahanta will fight from the Barhampur constituency and Goswami from Tezpur. The names of 14 first timers were also included in the list of 35 contestants. The first list of 31 contestants was announced on February 4.
As part of the AGP’s call for a ‘’mahajudh’’ (grand union) of Opposition parties to fight the ruling Congress, Patowary said that the regional party had decided not to field candidates in four constituencies.
They are Jamunamukh for AUDF leader Sirajuddin Ajmal, Nazira for CPI MLA Dhrupad Borgohain, Behali for BJP chief and MLA Ranjit Dutta and Sorbhog for CPI-M leader Udhab Barman.
The AGP favoured a ‘’mahajudh’’ for a united anti-Congress stand as 71 per cent of the votes are divided among the opposition parties while the Congress won 29 per cent of the votes, he said.
An AGP delegation met the Election Commission here and apprised it about the alleged violation of the model code of conduct by the Congress in using the government machinery and distributing freebies to woo voters.
Patowary said that the EC was urged to ensure that all illegal arms were seized to dispel the fear psychosis among the people, CCTVs installed in sensitive poll booths and sufficient security forces deployed for free and fair polls on April 4 and 11.
The EC assured to take necessary action, he said.

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