Two months after breaking off over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016, the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and Bharatiya Janata Party are allies again in Assam.
“After a prolonged discussion with senior AGP leaders, we decided to work together for the Lok Sabha election in Assam to defeat the Congress. The Bodoland People’s Front will be the third partner in the alliance,” senior BJP leader Ram Madhav said on Wednesday morning.
AGP president Atul Bora said, “We have renewed our ties on the request of the central BJP leadership. Seat-sharing details will be announced later.”
Mr. Bora said he and two other AGP ministers who resigned from the Sarbananda Sonowal government in January after differences over the Bill would resume charge soon.
The renewal of the alliance followed announcements by both BJP president Amit Shah and Assam Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma that the BJP would bring back the Bill if re-elected. BJP spokesperson Jayanta Malla Baruah on Tuesday categorically stated that renewal of ties with the AGP would be on the condition that it accepted the BJP’s stand on the Bill.
A section of the the AGP, led by former Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta, had opposed the idea of allying with the BJP again, as it ”would compromise the party’s stand on the Bill.” He is learnt to have been offered the post of Governor of Mizoram as a “peace deal”.
Reacting to the development, the Congress said it saw the AGP-BJP “remarriage” as the beginning of the end of regionalism in Assam. Former minister and Congress spokesperson Pradyut Bordoloi said, “The AGP is putting the last nail in their coffin. Their leaders will render themselves irrelevant.”