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AIUDF game for Grand Alliance in Assam

By PRANJAL BHUYAN
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GUWAHATI, Dec 20 - Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and political strategist Prashant Kishor are working behind the scene to firm up a Bihar-style �Mahagathbandhan� (Grand Alliance) in Assam for the 2016 Assembly elections and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is willing to be part of such a formation to prevent the BJP from capturing power in Dispur.

Senior AIUDF leaders told The Assam Tribune that party chief and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal met Kumar and Kishor in New Delhi last week where the issue of forming a Grand Alliance in Assam was discussed.

�The idea is to have a Grand Alliance comprising the Congress, AIUDF and AGP. Our leader is agreeable to the idea as a means of defeating the BJP in Assam. The Bihar elections have shown that a Grand Alliance can pose serious threat to the BJP and we are keen to replicate the model if the other parties are willing,� said an AIUDF leader.

He added that Ajmal also met a couple of senior AGP leaders in New Delhi and discussed the matter with them, following the meeting with Kumar and Kishor.

�Our leader has made clear that if we are to have an alliance, we will do it openly. There will be no secret understanding with any other party,� said the AIUDF office-bearer.

AIUDF�s latest stand is in contrast to its stated position so far as the party has all along maintained that it believes in following the �Ekla Chalo� model. Only last month, Ajmal has rejected Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s call for a �Maha-understanding� among non-BJP parties for the 2016 Assembly polls.

Experts believe that aggressive campaigning by the BJP in Assam and the success of the Grand Alliance model in Bihar has forced Ajmal to rethink his strategy. The saffron party had managed to win seven out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats from Assam during the 2014 General Elections, with the Congress and the AIUDF securing three each and the remaining seat going to an independent.

Kishor, the strategist behind Narendra Modi�s campaign in 2016 and Kumar�s during the recent Bihar polls, had earlier this month visited Assam and is believed to have met many leaders to firm up the alliance plan. After his success in Bihar, Kumar is also seeking to expand the anti-BJP front across the country.

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AIUDF game for Grand Alliance in Assam

GUWAHATI, Dec 20 - Bihar Chief Minister and JD(U) leader Nitish Kumar and political strategist Prashant Kishor are working behind the scene to firm up a Bihar-style �Mahagathbandhan� (Grand Alliance) in Assam for the 2016 Assembly elections and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) is willing to be part of such a formation to prevent the BJP from capturing power in Dispur.

Senior AIUDF leaders told The Assam Tribune that party chief and Lok Sabha MP Badruddin Ajmal met Kumar and Kishor in New Delhi last week where the issue of forming a Grand Alliance in Assam was discussed.

�The idea is to have a Grand Alliance comprising the Congress, AIUDF and AGP. Our leader is agreeable to the idea as a means of defeating the BJP in Assam. The Bihar elections have shown that a Grand Alliance can pose serious threat to the BJP and we are keen to replicate the model if the other parties are willing,� said an AIUDF leader.

He added that Ajmal also met a couple of senior AGP leaders in New Delhi and discussed the matter with them, following the meeting with Kumar and Kishor.

�Our leader has made clear that if we are to have an alliance, we will do it openly. There will be no secret understanding with any other party,� said the AIUDF office-bearer.

AIUDF�s latest stand is in contrast to its stated position so far as the party has all along maintained that it believes in following the �Ekla Chalo� model. Only last month, Ajmal has rejected Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi�s call for a �Maha-understanding� among non-BJP parties for the 2016 Assembly polls.

Experts believe that aggressive campaigning by the BJP in Assam and the success of the Grand Alliance model in Bihar has forced Ajmal to rethink his strategy. The saffron party had managed to win seven out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats from Assam during the 2014 General Elections, with the Congress and the AIUDF securing three each and the remaining seat going to an independent.

Kishor, the strategist behind Narendra Modi�s campaign in 2016 and Kumar�s during the recent Bihar polls, had earlier this month visited Assam and is believed to have met many leaders to firm up the alliance plan. After his success in Bihar, Kumar is also seeking to expand the anti-BJP front across the country.