Caste-based UP parties bargaining hard with major outfits for larger slice of poll pie

By PTI

GUWAHATI: The Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) on Thursday decided to approach “anti-BJP and secular” parties to come together and field consensus candidates for the October 30 by-poll to five assembly seats in the state.

The regional party, which had debuted before the Assembly election earlier this year, appealed to the Opposition parties to come together to keep the ruling BJP-led alliance at bay in the by-poll.

AJP general secretary Jagdish Bhuyan in a release said the party’s decision to approach the Opposition parties for a consensus candidate in the by-election was affirmed in its political affairs committee meeting on Thursday.

“Though we are a regional party, it is imperative for us to work together with all anti-BJP, non-communal forces to keep BJP at bay for the sake of upholding the democratic set up and traditions of our country,” he said.

“The BJP government has pushed the prices of essential items and unemployment to an all time high and is selling our assets to the capitalists. It is the need of the hour for anti-BJP secular forces to unite,” Bhuyan said.

AJP has formed committees which will hold talks with all anti-BJP and non-communal parties, including the Congress, to field consensus candidates in the by-poll, he said.

A high-level meeting was held earlier in the day between Assam Pradesh Congress Committee president Bhupen Borah and AJP president Lurinjyoti Gogoi and general secretary Jagadish Bhuyan.

“The Congress is willing to leave one seat to AJP as per its request to put up common candidates in the upcoming by-poll in Assam. Though it is yet to be finalised, we are ready to leave the Majuli seat to them,” a senior APCC leader said on condition of anonymity.

By-election will take place in Thowra, Mariani, Bhabanipur, Tamulpur and Gossaigaon on October 30.

The Majuli seat is also vacant, but the by-poll in it will not be held this time round as its representative, Union Minister Sarbananda Sonowal resigned from the state Assembly only hours after the poll schedule was announced by the Election Commission.

Thowra and Mariani seats were bagged by Congress during the Assembly poll, while Bhabanipur had gone in AIUDF’s kitty.

But the MLAs resigned and joined the ruling BJP.

By-poll in Gossaigoan and Tamulpur is being held after the death of their MLAs.

Gossaigaon was won by UPPL and Tamulpur by BPF in the Assembly election.

The AJP and Raijor Dal had fought the state poll as a ‘regional alliance’ and had refrained from joining the Congress-led Grand Alliance’ comprising AIUDF, BPF, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha, RJD, Adivasi National Party and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party.

In the 126-member Assam Assembly, the BJP’s strength at present is 59.

The ruling allies — the AGP has nine and UPPL five MLAs.

The Congress’ strength is 27, while AIUDF has 15 members, BPF three and CPI(M) has one.

There is one Independent MLA also.