NEW DELHI, Jan 22 � The possibility of the Opposition fielding a common candidate for the Rajya Sabha poll has diminished with the BJP reluctant to join hands with AIUDF, even as the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) said that the Opposition is likely to firm up their strategy shortly.
Talking to this newspaper over telephone, State BJP president Sarbananda Sonowal ruled out the possibility of aligning with AIUDF. He said that if any Independent candidate, who has made a credible contribution to the society, approaches BJP, then the party would consider his or her plea.
Sonowal�s reaction came hours after AGP vice president Atul Bora told newsmen in Delhi that preliminary discussions were on among Opposition parties to field a common candidate for the third Rajya Sabha seat. The AGP has so far received a letter from AIUDF regarding fielding of a common candidate.
�We are informally discussing the issue but a final view would be taken in a day or two,� said Bora, confirming that the combined Opposition have the numbers to wrest one seat.
He, however, declined to name any aspirant stating that several names were under consideration.
When asked whether BJP would support a common candidate, Bora said he was not aware about the saffron party�s stand though there was a precedent when BJP and AIUDF had supported a common candidate.
Incidentally, a delegation of North Eastern Regional Political Front (NERPF) yesterday met BJP national president Rajnath Singh.
The State BJP president, on the other hand, said the BJP cannot ever align with AIUDF and hence there is no possibility of fielding a common candidate.
In case the Opposition remains divided and fails to field a common candidate, then the ruling party is likely to have a smooth sailing. In such a scenario, the ruling clich� needs no more than 35 votes to get one candidate elected, thereby getting all its three candidates elected, sources said. He explained that the combined strength of Opposition in Assam Assembly is 35 � AGP (9), BJP (6) and AIUDF (18), Trinamool Congress 1 and one Independent). In case, the Opposition fields a common candidate then the ruling combine has to get 43 votes each for its three candidates, in which case two candidates would have a smooth sailing, while for the third seat it will have to struggle to garner support, said sources.
Meanwhile, NERPF spokesman JK Riba said that discussion was on with various regional parties as well as BJP to field a common Opposition to the Congress party in the Lok Sabha polls. �Politically we are against the Congress party. We are already working to increase our tally in the Lok Sabha by putting up a common front,� he said.
When asked about the possibility of being part of the BJP-led alliance, he said the option is still open. NPF of Nagaland is already an alliance partner of NDA.