Wednesday, November 11, 2009

AGP leaders on ‘divorce’ mode with BJP

GUWAHATI, Nov 11: Most of the AGP leaders blame it on party president Chandra Mohan Patowary for the debacle that the party has had to face in the successive elections in recent times. These AGP leaders say that whenever the AGP has forged electoral understanding with the BJP, the regional party has had to suffer setback.

In the 2001 Assembly elections, the party led by former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had inked an electoral pact with the BJP only to be defeated. In the 2009 Lok Sabha elections, with Patowary at the helm of affairs of the party, the AGP undertook a seat-sharing exercise with the BJP, but was again defeated except for a lone seat, Tezpur, that went to the regional party. The AGP’s poll debacle in the last Lok Sabha polls brought to the fore the discomfort of several party leaders, including religious minority leaders like Sahidul Alam Chou-dhury, on the AGP-BJP seat-sharing stratagem. However, the party went to the just-concluded by-polls along with the BJP, within the same seat-sharing framework and, as usual, failed.

The defeat of the AGP candidate in Dhekiajuli LAC that was with the party for the last 13 years has made the AGP leaders feel that the party candidate did not get BJP votes in the constituency. The Congress candidate defeated the AGP candidate in the constituency by a margin of over 21,000 votes.

According to sources, a majority of AGP leaders are of the firm view that instead of going with the BJP, the regional party should engage itself in consolidating its own strength and maintain good rapport with other regional parties like the Bodoland People’s Progressive Front (BPPF), Autonomous State Demand Committee (ASDC) and the Gana Shakti, besides the Left parties.

Many AGP leaders and workers also feel that a politics centred on ‘‘who will become Chief Minister if the party is voted to power in the State’’ among the top leaders of the party has cost it dearly. Many a party leader say that Patowary and his coterie actually take all vital party decisions and impose them on the party. “This is an ominous trend,” they told this reporter on the condition of anonymity. THE SENTINEL

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