Bid to ensure coordination among alliance partners

Pranjal Bhuyan

GUWAHATI, March 29: With focus shifting to Lower Assam, Central Assam and the Barak Valley, the opposition ‘grand alliance’ is confident about seamless transfer of votes among its constituent parties during the second and the third phases of the Assembly elections.

“Vote transfer among the grand alliance partners will be smooth. We have given particular attention to this point. There is absolute clarity on the matter. In seats where the Congress party is in fray as part of the seat-sharing arrangement, the votes of the other grand alliance constituents will come to us. And in constituencies where any of our partners is contesting, the votes of the Congress will get transferred to that particular ally,” Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) president Ripun Bora told this newspaper.

He added, “We have sensitized our party workers on the necessity of maintaining proper coordination with the allies at ground. And we are confident that there will be no complications in transfer of votes among the grand alliance partners.”

AIUDF leaders also made similar claims.

“Our leadership has sent out instructions emphasizing on proper coordination with the allies, including not only the Congress, but also the BPF and the Left parties. We have accordingly taken up joint activities,” said AIUDF general secretary Haidor Hussain Bora.

“AIUDF is canvassing in support of the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) in the constituencies which have been allocated to the Hagrama Mohilary-led party and for the Congress candidates in the seats where they are in fray. Similarly, the leaders and workers of those parties are helping us in constituencies from which we are contesting. In Guwahati, our party’s representatives accompanied Congress candidates when they went to file nominations. There will be no problem in vote transfer among the grand alliance constituents on polling day,” he said.

“In the 2019 Lok Sabha polls, our party had successfully transferred the votes of its supporters to the Congress in Mangaldai, Silchar, Nagaon and Kaliabor seats even though there was no formal alliance between the two parties then. Congress won from Nagaon and Kaliabor only because our party’s supporters transferred their votes to it,” he added.

Asked about constituencies where the AIUDF is in ‘friendly contest’ with the Congress in the second and the third phases, he said, “Such seats are mostly dominated by minority community voters. So we expect ‘tactical voting’ from the electorate in favour of only one ‘anti-BJP’ candidate in a particular constituency. The electorate will make sure that the BJP does not gain due to division of votes between the Congress and the AIUDF.”

The issue of vote transfer has greater relevance for the grand alliance in the seats of Phase II and Phase III as compared to the areas where polling took place in the first phase on March 27.

The Congress had contested as many as 43 out of the 47 seats which voted in the first phases and it had left only four constituencies for other partners of the grand alliance.

However, the ‘junior’ partners are in fray in greater number of seats in the later phases. The AIUDF has fielded 19 candidates and the BPF is contesting from 12 seats in areas which will go to the polls in the second and the third phases.

Meanwhile, sources in the grand alliance admitted that presence of ‘rebel’ candidates of the AIUDF may lead to some complications in a few constituencies.

“It may impact us in two or three seats where rebels are in fray as Independents after being denied tickets by the party. Such candidates could manage to wean away a segment of our traditional votes,” said another senior AIUDF leader.