GUWAHATI: All is not well in the BJP led allies camp. Though the ruling party had set a target of winning over 100 out of Assam’s total 126 seats in the ensuing polls, the party has been facing strong dissidents from its alliance to its veterans.
While former BJP MP Rajen Gohain alleged of a ‘betrayal’ by party leaders for depriving him of a party ticket to contest the ensuing polls, BJP’s newly made ally of United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) went one step further and banned BJP worker’s entry to Paneri constituency for not leaving the seat for them.
BJP and allies on Friday declared its first list of 70 candidates. Out of the total 126 seats in the state, BJP has left 26 seats for its ally Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and eight for UPPL. Assam elections are slated on March 27, April 1 and April 6.
Gohain said, “I have been working for BJP in Assam when there was no existence of the party in the state. After I was deprived of MP seats earlier, I told the party heads that I want to fight in the state polls before taking a graceful exit. But it seems the party doesn’t need the old horses now.”
Gohain had expressed his wish to fight from Barhampur constituency. But in BJP’s first list of candidates, the party nominated Jitu Goswami for the seat.
But that’s not all. The Barhampur constituency also became the bone of contention between BJP and its ally AGP. The constituency though has been bagged by AGP’s founder member and former chief minister Prafulla Mahanta since 1985, the list of the alliance left out the senior leader.
Immediately, AGP supporters of Mahanta renewed AGP (Progressive), a faction of the party once head by Mahanta, after he was denied of Barhampur constituency.
Mahanta said, “I have always been firm on my stand against the contentious Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) and will continue to do so.”
Mahanta despite continuing to win from Barhampur seat in every single election since 1985, his candidature came under threat after the former CM rebelled against the BJP’s decision of bringing the CAA. Supporters of Mahanta who has a strong base in the constituency expressed their displeasure and said that BJP’s move will surely cost the saffron camp.
The former chief minister has been also reported to be in touch with Congress led ‘grand alliance’ and other regional forces.
Meanwhile, UPPL supporters hit the roads at Tangla in Panery constituency and even torched the effigies of BJP leaders in protest on Saturday. The UPPL which has recently forged an alliance with BJP wanted the Panery seat for themselves but its ally BJP has nominated its MP Biswajit Daimary to contest there.
“We have been betrayed by BJP. Though it was initially agreed that BJP will leave at least 10 seats for UPPL to fight, it reduced it to 8 and even taken away the Panery seat where UPPL has a strong base. We don’t agree to this and decided to ban BJP workers from campaigning in Panery constituency,” the UPPL supporters said.
Though UPPL chief Pramod Boro did not made any comment on the development, following the announcement of the seat sharing by BJP leaders in New Delhi on Friday, Boro thanked the BJP and AGP leaders and had tweeted: “Happy to be the part of NDA alliance. We pledge to work together towards a better & progressive Assam.”
At the same time, UPPL’s probable candidate from Panery seat Nerkhang Khakhlari also took it to his Facebook account and posted that UPPL should immediately break its ties with BJP. The UPPL and BJP are allies in the newly elected council of Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC).