Ahead of Assam bypolls, Cong’s alliance with new ally gets a jolt

After discarding two of its old allies — AIUDF and BPF, the main opposition Congress in Assam tried to forge alliance before the October 30 bypolls with the Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal but the latter refused the Congress proposal.

The AJP headed by Lurinjyoti Gogoi and the Raijor Dal led by Akhil Gogoi together fought the March-April assembly polls but only Akhil Gogoi was elected to the assembly while being in jail.

The Election Commission on September 28 announced the bypolls to Gossaigaon, Tamulpur, Bhawanipur, Mariani and Thowra constituencies on October 30.

The Raijor Dal wanted Mariani and Thowra seats from the Congress but the latter offered the Bhawanipur seat to the local party causing the snapping of the possible alliance.

Gogoi, also an influential peasant leader and rights activist, said that the Congress was trying to “dictate” the seat sharing and this is not possible for them to accept.

The Raijor Dal also announced candidates for the Mariani and Thowra seats. “If the Congress gives us the Thowra seat, then we may withdraw a candidate from the Mariani seat,” the Raijor Dal chief told the media on Thursday.

The Congress, on the other hand, after Gogoi’s refusal has announced candidates for all the five seats leaving the Majuli seat to the AJP.

The By-election for the Majuli seat, which fell vacant after former Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal was elected to the Rajya Sabha on September 27, might be announced soon and discussions were held on the election related issues for all the six constituencies at a party meet, Assam state Congress President Bhupen Kumar Borah said.

Borah and AJP President Lurinjyoti Gogoi emphasised the “need to defeat the divisive agenda of the BJP, which was dabbling in communal politics only for electoral gain”.

Lurinjyoti Gogoi expressed the need for all like-minded opposition parties to come forward “to defeat the destructive communal tide unleashed by BJP on the people of Assam”.

The AJP President said that his party would contest from Majuli when the election will be declared and would support the Congress on five seats.

The Badruddin Ajmal-led All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) also announced the names of candidates for Bhawanipur and Gossaigaon assembly seats in Assam.

The Assam Congress last month announced that the AIUDF and tribal-based party BPF would no longer be partners of the ‘Mahajot’ in the state.

In the last Assembly polls, the Congress had left the Bhawanipur seat to the AIUDF while the Gossaigaon seat was contested by the BPF.

Recently, four-time Congress MLA from Mariani, Rupjyoti Kurmi and two-time party legislator from Thowra, Sushanta Borgohain resigned from the party and joined the BJP.

Phanidhar Talukdar, the lone Hindu MLA of the Muslim-based AIUDF from Bhawanipur, had resigned from the Assembly before joining the BJP.

Tamulpur MLA Leho Ram Boro of the UPPL and Gossaigaon legislator Majendra Narzary of the BPF died due to Covid-19.