GUWAHATI, Jan 16 - Categorically rejecting any possibility of a pre-poll alliance with the AIUDF, the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC) today exuded confidence of winning at least 70 seats during the forthcoming Assembly polls.
The grand old party has, however, kept open the option of having a post-poll alliance with the Badruddin Ajmal-led party.
Speaking to reporters here, APCC president Anjan Dutta said that AIUDF supremo Ajmal has been spreading false information about his party�s likely tie-up with the Congress as Ajmal�s support base among the minority voters has started eroding.
�Minorities have rejected Ajmal. So he is desperate for an alliance with the Congress. He is claiming that the AIUDF is a national party and as the president of a national party he will deal only with our high command. But our high command has informed us that there will be no alliance with the AIUDF. Ajmal is spreading rumours,� Dutta said.
He added, �Minorities doubt that the AIUDF wants to split the secular vote and help the BJP. So Ajmal is trying to give the impression that vote for the AIUDF will mean vote for the Congress. But we want to categorically state that there will be no alliance with the AIUDF.�
Dutta said that the BJP is also engaged in spreading rumours about a possible tie-up between the Congress and the AIUDF.
�We will contest all the 126 seats� We will win at least 70-71 seats,� he said, adding that the AIUDF will not be able to even secure eight seats in the upcoming polls.
Asked if the Congress is also rejecting the possibility of a post-poll alliance with the AIUDF, Dutta said, �At this moment it will not be possible to say if there will be any alliance or not after the elections.�
The APCC chief said that Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi had never spoken about having any pre-poll alliance with other parties but had only advocated a �grand-understanding� to counter the BJP.
About the possibility of an understanding with the AGP, Dutta said no discussions have taken place in this regard. �But if the AGP is ready for talks, we are ready. But what will be the likely understanding will only become evident after talks are held,� he said.
The APCC chief also said that three sitting Congress party MLAs have expressed their reluctance to contest the forthcoming polls. He however, refused to divulge the names of the MLAs, but added that all of them are senior legislators above 75 years of age.
Dutta said the process for inviting applications from interested candidates who want to contest the 2016 elections has not yet started. He said that a number of tribal leaders from various communities of the State are likely to join the Congress shortly.