Guwahati, Oct 19: Bhupen Borah, the President of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee (APCC), has announced that the party is gearing up to contest all 14 seats in the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections. This declaration has raised intriguing questions about Congress’s stance, given its existing alliance with other opposition parties in Assam.
The statement has prompted speculation about whether Congress intends to forgo seat-sharing arrangements with its allies, not only in the upcoming Lok Sabha elections but also in the subsequent Assam assembly elections.
Notably, Bhupen Borah, in his discussion with reporters, clarified that this statement was made in his capacity as the leader of the opposition alliance, rather than solely as the Chief of the Assam Congress party.
He emphasized, “I have not said it as the Congress president but as the president of the alliance of opposition parties. I have always said as the opposition alliance leader that we will contest in the parliamentary elections. I am the president of the opposition alliance of 12 parties, and I have always said that we will contest in all the 14 seats.”
This development has spurred a reaction from Akhil Gogoi, the Raijor Dal leader and Sivasagar MLA, who has urged Bhupen Borah to provide clarity on the matter.
The context of this announcement becomes pertinent when considering the coalition dynamics in Assam. The Assam Congress is currently aligned with several opposition parties, including CPI(M), CPI(ML) Liberation, Assam Jatiya Parishad, Raijor Dal, Jatiya Dal Asom, Rashtriya Janata Dal, Nationalist Congress Party, and Liberal Democratic Party. In March of the current year, Congress had convened discussions with these parties to forge an alliance.
Notably, the meeting did not extend invitations to the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), Trinamool Congress, and the Aam Aadmi Party, sparking intrigue and raising questions about future alliance configurations.
Bhupen Borah has further emphasized that tickets for the Lok Sabha elections, as well as the upcoming assembly elections, will be distributed to candidates who have demonstrated unwavering loyalty to the party. This loyalty test emerges in the backdrop of recent controversies within the Assam Congress unit, where concerns arose about three MLAs allegedly aligning themselves with the ruling BJP.
Abdul Batin Khandakar and Bhaskarjyoti Baruah faced scrutiny for attending the government’s Amrit Kalash Yatra program, while Rekibuddin Ahmed, the Chaygaon MLA, received a show cause notice over his alleged proximity to the BJP, particularly to Himanta Biswa Sarma.
This internal debate and potential shifts within the Assam Congress unit are occurring at a pivotal time, as parties gear up for crucial elections. The dynamics of these alliances and the decisions made in the run-up to the Lok Sabha and assembly elections will significantly influence the political landscape in Assam.