Regional players AJP and Raijor Dal forge alliance for Assam assembly polls

·3-min read

(Eds: With more inputs) Guwahati, Feb 4 (PTI) Newly floated Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), led by former AASU leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi, on Thursday forged an alliance with the Raijor Dal of jailed anti-citizenship law activist Akhil Gogoi for the upcoming assembly elections.

The former student leader, after a two-and-a-half- hour-long meeting with the activist at Gauhati Medical College and Hospital (GMCH) here -- where he is undergoing treatment for various ailments -- said that the two new regional parties have stitched an alliance, and an announcement would soon be made to this end, in the presence of the other leaders.

'We had been holding talks about putting up a united fight against the ruling BJP. Today, both the parties sealed an alliance. A formal announcement will be made in a few days in the presence of leaders from both the parties,' Lurinjyoti told PTI outside GMCH.

Last month, Raijor Dal working presidents Bhasco De Saikia, Kabindra Chetia Phukan and Jitul Deka had written to Lurinjyoti, seeking an electoral understanding between the two parties to oust the BJP-led ruling coalition from power.

Saikia, when contacted, said, 'We have decided to form an alliance with the AJP, and look forward to defeating the BJP and its allies. The election strategy will be devised in the coming days and we will work accordingly.' Lurinjyoti also said that his outfit is in talks with the Bodoland People's Front (BPF), which is currently a part of the BJP-led state government, and the discussions are 'moving in the positive direction'.

'We have already tied up with Autonomous State Demand Committee from Karbi Anglong. We are also looking to ally with the Ganashakti and the Rabha Hasong, both of which are part of the NDA. We want to create an alliance of ethnic parties that will engage in inclusive politics,' Lurinjyoti said.

The BPF's relations with the BJP soured during the recent Bodoland Territorial Council elections, as the saffron party dumped its state ally and joined hands with the United People's Party Liberal (UPPL) and Gana Suraksha Party (GSP) to govern the body.

Exuding confidence that regional forces, led by the AJP and the Raijor Dal, will form the next government in the state, the former All Assam Students' Union leader further said, 'Akhil Gogoi, during the meeting, enquired about the political scenario in Assam. He asked us to strengthen our fight against the communal forces. We will soon decide about seat sharing and other details.

The two leaders met for the first time here since the formation of their outfits last year, albeit talks of alliance were doing the rounds for quite some.

Gogoi, arrested by the National Investigation Agency in December 2019 for his alleged role in the violent anti- citizenship law protests, was admitted to GMCH after he tested positive for COVID-19 last year. He had since been undergoing treatment for multiple ailments.

'The government has confined him in a very undemocratic and fascist manner. He should be released soon.

He was involved in a public movement, not any anti-national activities,' Lurinjyoti told reporters.

Elections to the 126-member Assam Assembly are likely to be held in March-April.

The BJP is currently the single largest party in the state with 60 MLAs, while its allies -- the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) -- have 13 and 12 lawmakers in the assembly respectively.

The ruling coalition also has the support of an Independent MLA.

The opposition Congress has 19 MLAs in the House, and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) has 14 legislators. PTI TR RMS RMS