GUWAHATI: Just ahead of declaring the candidates’ list for the ensuing Assam Polls by BJP, the ruling alliance of BJP-Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) hit by a major jolt as AGP faced a split in the party with several of AGP veteran members have decided to walk out of the alliance and fight the election under the banner of AGP (Progressive).
AGP earlier split in 2005, with former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta forming the AGP (P) due to differences of opinions with other party leaders. However, the factions regrouped in 2008.
In 2016, AGP forged an ally with BJP and won the elections. However, the party continued to see dissidents from a large section of party leaders including Mahanta over the issue of BJP bringing in the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA).
AGP (P) general secretary Pranab Kumar Goswami told TIME8, “Since we have been opposing CAA from the beginning and AGP leaders have been with BJP who brought the law, we have decided to fight the elections by our own. Discussions are ongoing with other anti CAA forces.”
The AGP (P) leader informed that the party may fight in at least 15 seats. Goswami, however, did not reveal whether Mahanta would be on their list of candidates or not.
“Since Mahanta has been with the AGP now, it’s still not sure whether Mahanta will join us or not. He is most welcome though,” Goswami added.
Significantly, the decision of renewing the AGP (P) front came at a time when reports were making rounds that the BJP candidates’ list may not include Mahanta.
Mahanta was about to reach the city on Friday evening after he was released from a hospital in New Delhi. He was undergoing medical checkups in the national capital.
Last year, CAA was threatening to rock the BJP’s ties with the AGP. The issue had created so much of turmoil in the AGP camp that Mahanta and his colleagues was barred from entering the party head office in Guwahati to hold an anti-CAA meeting.
AGP (P) has already discussed a possible alliance with the ‘grand alliance’ led by Congress and to sit for a discussion with Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) on Saturday.