GUWAHATI: Ahead of the Assam assembly elections, Congress leaders in the state are trying hard to form a “Mahagathbandhan” with the AIUDF, Left and other parties. However, AICC General Secretary Jitendra Singh on Saturday said that the party has not yet finalised an alliance with any party for the ensuing polls.
Singh, party leader in-charge of Assam, said that the Congress has neither finalised any alliance with the AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front) nor with the Left or any other party.
“We have also not had any talks for a pre-poll understanding with any regional party,” the former Lok Sabha member said, adding that the party’s central leadership would take a call on any electoral alliance after feedback from the grassroots Congress workers.”
The Assam Congress leadership has been saying that they would form a “Mahagathbandhan” (Grand Alliance) with like-minded parties to fight against the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party led alliance.
Besides the AIUDF, a Muslim-dominated party in Assam and the Left parties, the state Congress leaders including party president Ripun Bora held several meetings during the past few months with ‘like minded parties’.
According to Congress Spokesperson Rhituporna Konwar the like minded parties include Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS) led by jailed leader Akhil Gogoi, various tribal and local parties besides the AIUDF and Left parties including the Communist Party of India-Marxist and the Communist Party of India.
AIUDF president and Lok Sabha member, Maulana Badruddin Ajmal has been stating that the two parties (Congress and AIUDF) have decided to contest the Assembly polls together since their tie-up for the BTC polls.
Veteran Congress leader and former three-time (2001-2016) Assam Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi before his death on November 23 had also worked to form a “Mahagathbandhan” to take on the BJP-led coalition.
The Congress and the AIUDF had contested 20 of the 40 BTC seats together in last month’s polls to the Bodoland Territorial Council. The Congress bagged one of the 13 it had contested while the AIUDF drew a blank on the remaining seven.
Recently, Congress President Sonia Gandhi has appointed three central leaders — Bhupesh Baghel (Chhattisgarh Chief Minister), Mukul Wasnik (AICC General Secretary) and Shakeel Ahmed Khan (Bihar MLA) — to oversee the election campaign in Assam in close coordination with the AICC General Secretaries and in-charge of the state.
The Congress had suffered a setback in the recent elections to the BTC and the Tiwa Autonomous Council. Two of its MLAs – Ajanta Neog and Rajdeep Goala – had joined the BJP last month, delivering another blow to the party.
In the 2016 Assam assembly elections, the Congress had contested on its own without an electoral alliance with any party and secured 24 seats.
In the last assembly polls, the BJP formed the government in Assam for the first time winning 60 seats after forming an alliance with the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP), which won 14 and 12 seats, respectively. The ruling alliance also has the support of an Independent MLA.
The 126-member Assam assembly polls are likely to be held in April-May along with West Bengal and Kerala.