NEW DELHI, March 2 � In a significant political development ahead of the polls, the ruling Congress Party in
Assam is all set to go alone, as it has finally decided not to have any pre-poll alliance with Bodoland People�s Front (BPF). This was finalised at a meeting between Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi and PCC president Bhubaneswar Kalita, last evening.
Confirming this, PCC president told this newspaper that State Congress would go all alone and they would field candidates in BTC areas. �We have decided not to have any pre-poll alliance with BPF though the possibility of post-alliance cannot be ruled out at this stage,� he said.
The issue of alliance between Congress and BPF has been subject of much debate within the ruling clich�, though the Party finally managed to prevail over the government on the issue. The pressure from Party workers and feeling within the Congress that it should take advantage of being in power both at the State and the Centre, strengthened the Party�s �go alone lobby�.
Though Chief Minister, Tarun Gogoi had initially indicated his preference for continuance of the pre-poll alliance, he retracted after the Party insisted on fielding candidates in all the 126 Assembly segments. BPF, a partner in the ruling alliance government has ministers in Gogoi�s council of ministers.
Meanwhile, a day after the Election Commission of India (EC) announced the polls, political parties have gone on active mode with top priority being given to selection of candidates.
The ruling Congress Party is likely to have its first round of meeting of the Screening Committee by next week at Guwahati.
Talking to newsmen, the Chief Minister said that the screening committee is expected to meet on March 9 and the list of candidate is likely to be announced between March 13-14.
The PCC president, when contacted said as much but added that according to their initial planning, the meeting of the Pradesh Election Committee is expected to be held sometime on March 5-6, after which the Screening Committee headed by Union Health and Family Welfare Minister, Ghulam Nabi Azad would meet the next week.
�But we might have to reschedule a bit because of the polls have been advanced a little,� Kalita said.
The party has to rework its schedule also because of absence of general secretary in-charge Digvijay Singh, who has gone abroad and expected to return on March 5.
Meanwhile, the BJP has convened a meeting of the Central Election Committee (CEC) on Thursday to finalise the list of candidates for the remaining 120 Legislative Assembly Constituencies (LACs). The meeting of the 20-member CEC would be chaired by national president, Nitin Gadkari and joined by State president Ranjit Dutta and Mission Ranjan Das among others.
�A meeting of the CEC would be held tomorrow to finalise the list of candidates and we hope to announce the names of 70-80 candidates on Thursday itself,� senior leader and in-charge for Assam, Vijay Goel told newsmen today.
Goel also stressed that they are planning to put up candidates in all the 126 Assembly seats.
However, party insiders said BJP�s list of candidates has been almost ready for the past one month but because of parleys with AGP for tactical seat adjustments, it has been held up.
Sources said BJP has conveyed to AGP that it was not willing to compromise on 45 �A category seats� where the party would field its own candidates. The party categorised each of the 126 Assembly seats into �A,B and C�, on basis of its survey reports and inputs from its observers.
Sources said that the regional party had indicated that it wanted BJP to go easy on at least 71 seats, which has been rejected by the party. The regional party has now been asked to prepare a list of seats, which they are confident of winning.
Both the parties are working towards a broad understanding to field �weak candidates� in certain seats to defeat the rival Congress Party. AGP has already announced its decision not to field candidates against BJP state chief Ranjit Dutta and AUDF strongman�s son Sirajuddin Ajmal.