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One Too Many

Several regional parties in the fray could help BJP in next year’s assembly polls in Assam

One Too Many
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It’s election season in Assam and the phrase ‘party time’ has acquired new meaning in the Northeast state going to the polls by April-May next year. Weeks after a new political party was floated by AASU, jailed peasant leader and anti-corruption activist Akhil Gogoi has also floated a regional political party named Raijor Dal or the People’s Party.

The party floated by Gogoi-led Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti is the second new political outfit in Assam after Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) was formed. In the past one year or so, Assam has seen the birth of two other regional parties—Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) formed by journalist-turned-Rajya Sabha MP Ajit Kumar Bhuyan and the Asom Gana Mancha. The state also has the Liberal Democratic Party (LDP) of Prodyut Bora, a former BJP member who had founded the party’s IT cell.

The irony of the story is not lost on anybody—all these parties are hoping to bank on voters’ resentment against the Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA). The passage of the bill had seen violent protests in Assam where illegal migration is an emotive issue.

For the ruling BJP, which had stormed to power in 2016 for the first time in the state on the promise of expelling all illegal migrants, the new regional parties could not have come at a better time. “In a democracy anyone can float a political party. We welcome the formation of new political parties. However, this will not affect us. BJP has 42 lakh members. If each one of these members brings one person each to vote in favour of BJP, then we will get 84 lakh votes. So, this clearly shows that we will definitely get absolute majority,” says BJP state president Ranjeet Kumar Dass.

It’s precisely for the fear of split in anti-BJP votes that the Congress and its former arch enemy AIUDF of perfume baron Badrudddin Ajmal have decided to contest the polls together. Ajmal is hopeful that if the newly-floated parties join hands, the BJP will be isolated. “Things are moving in the right direction. We expect only positive developments in the days to come,” says Ajmal. Congress state president Ripun Bora too says that all regional forces should join hands for the common goal of defeating the BJP.

But for KMSS’s Raijor Dal and AJP, they want all the regional forces to be together to take a stand against BJP and the Congress-AIUDF alliance. AJP’s coordinator Jagadish Bhuyan said a decision will be taken during a convention scheduled to be held in November.

Raijor Dal’s convenor Hussain Mohammad Sahjahan also feels that unless all major regional forces come together, it will be difficult to defeat the BJP. “Especially AJP and us need to work together to ensure that not a single vote goes to waste or to BJP. Maybe, we can come to an agreement on seat-sharing; we also need to talk with other parties like AAP or LDP...Hopefully we can come to a positive conclusion soon,” says Sahjahan.

By Abdul Gani in Guwahati 

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