NEW DELHI, March 3 - The Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) is set to contest in 24 seats, besides fight a friendly contest in one-two other seats, according to an agreement worked out with the BJP, which was formally announced here today.
The BJP and AGP clinched the crucial seat sharing arrangement and the five-party alliance would fight the ensuing elections on the basis of a common minimum programme, it was announced today.
The AGP delegation, led by its president Atul Bora and comprising Prafulla Kumar Mahanta this noon called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi at his Parliament House Office before addressing a joint press conference at the BJP headquarters.
The BJP declared that the AGP would be contesting in 24 seats, including Naharkatiya, Amguri, Teok, Dergaon, Bokakhat, Sarupathar, Kaliabor, Barhampur, West Guwahati, Chaygaon, Boko, Bongaigaon, South Abhayapuri, North Abhayapuri, Barpeta, Patacharkuchi, Kamalpur, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur, Jamunamukh, Lahori Ghat, West Bilasipara, Sarukhetri and Dalgaon.
The BJP and its three other allies would be contesting the remaining seats. BJP State president Sarbananda Sonowal, however, declined to spell out on how many seat his party is planning to contest.
Earlier, introducing the AGP leaders, Union Telecom Minister Ravi Shankar Prasad said that the BJP was indeed very happy to declare a formal BJP-AGP alliance for the forthcoming Assembly elections.
The press briefing was attended by Atul Bora, Keshab Mahanta, Sonowal and campaign committee convenor Himanta Biswa Sarma, among others.
�The alliance has become necessary because BJP and AGP share the same views on the very important issue of illegal infiltration into Assam. BJP has its own thinking on the issue, and AGP was born out of the movement against the illegal infiltrators.
�In this election our main issues would be two � to rid Assam of the corrupt, non-development and non-governance of the present Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and safeguard of the State from the illegal and unhindered illegal infiltration from Bangladesh, in which there was collusion and patronage of the Congress party. There is hope and expectations from the alliance and the formation of a BJP-led government is certain,� Prasad said.
Addressing newsmen, the AGP president said that they have decided to forge the alliance after marathon discussions with BJP leaders.
�The Congress is in power since 2001 and they have totally failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people. There is rampant corruption in all departments throughout the State,� he said.
�The AGP was in power for two terms but we failed to detect, delete and deport the foreigners. The main hurdle was the IMDT Act, which was later scrapped by the Supreme Court. But the Congress was in power since then, and yet it did nothing in this regard. They instead exploited the vote bank of the foreigners,� he added.
�If the alliance comes to power, the BJP has assured that they would do whatever is needed to be done in this regard. And we have decided to execute the common minimum programme.
�We are forming the government,� he claimed.
Bora said that the AGP is willing to work under the leadership of Sonowal. What is the harm? We have both served as the president of AASU and were in the AGP together,� Bora said replying to questions.
Asked about the turmoil in his party after the announcement of the alliance, Sonowal said that all party workers are committed to the cause of the party.
Prasad added that BJP is united and one and everyone will work together under the leadership of Sonowal.
Himanta Biswa Sarma, when asked about his ideological moorings, said the Congress under Rajiv Gandhi had agreed to implement the Assam Accord. But when Rahul Gandhi came, he shifted the goal post. As long as Rahul Gandhi was not there, the Congress was committed to implement the Assam Accord. But Rahul Gandhi tried to forge an alliance with Badruddin Ajmal, he said.
�My ideological view has not changed, but Congress has changed its ideological goal post. I am in the same point where I was,� he claimed.