Grand Alliance to decide CM candidate for Assam after polls

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Guwahati, Feb 28 (PTI) The opposition Congress-led Grand Alliance in Assam on Sunday said its chief ministerial candidate will be decided in consultation with other constituents after the assembly elections are over.

Addressing a joint press conference of the partners of the Grand Alliance, All India Congress Committee general secretary, in-charge of Assam, Anirudh Singh, said that the prime concern of the grouping is to defeat the BJP and its partners.

'After the polls are over, all the parties will sit together and decide about the chief ministerial candidate,' he said .

With the joining of the Hagrama Mohilary-led Bodoland People's Front (BPF) in the opposition grouping, the Grand Alliance will surely reach its target of winning 101 out of the total 126 assembly seats in the upcoming polls, Singh said.

The Congress, which was earlier in power for 15 years in the northeastern state since 2001, had initially formed the Grand Alliance with the AIUDF, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) and the Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) to fight the assembly polls against the BJP-helmed National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

On Saturday, the BPF joined the alliance to add to the strength of the anti-BJP grouping.

RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav had also met several leaders of the alliance on Friday and Saturday and said his party will contest the Assam assembly polls although no formal decision was taken to join the grouping.

The BPF which was a part of the BJP-led state government had announced on Saturday that it will no longer maintain any friendly relation or alliance with the ruling BJP.

Speaking on the occasion, Mohilary said, 'The BJP failed to fulfil the aspirations of the people of Assam. It has failed to give the rights to indigenous people. The saffron party disrespected all tribal people.' Exuding confidence that the Grand Alliance will form the government with full majority, the BPF leader said that the saffron party will be 'finished' in the assembly polls.

Elections in the northeastern state will be conducted on March 27, April 1 and April 6.

When asked if the three BPF ministers in the BJP-led government will resign, Mohilary refused to give a direct answer, saying 'What is there to resign now? Model code of conduct is in force in the state.' Assam Congress president Ripun Bora also invited two new regional parties -- Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal -- to join the grouping to defeat the BJP-led alliance.

The All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) organisational general secretary Aminul Islam requested the BPF to unite all the tribal and ethnic groups to put a consolidated fight against the ruling NDA.

'The RJD leadership also came and made a commitment to campaign anywhere in the state in favour of the Grand Alliance. This will benefit us immensely,' the AIUDF leader added.

The BJP will be going to the Assam polls with allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL).

The 2016 assembly elections in Assam had given a fractured mandate and no party got an absolute majority. The Congress had won 26 seats, while the AIUDF bagged 13.

The BJP became the single largest party with 60 MLAs, while its allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and BPF had won 14 and 12 seats respectively. The ruling coalition also had the support of an Independent MLA. PTI TR MM MM MM