grand alliance

Assam, Jan 20: The Congress and five other parties officially announced their ‘grand alliance’ for the Assam Assembly elections which is likely to be held in March – April, bringing an end to speculation on whether the party will finally go with the AIUDF. The alliance, however, did not name a chief ministerial candidate.

Announcing the alliance — CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML), AIUDF, and Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) are the five partners with Congress — at a press conference in Guwahati, Assam Congress president Ripun Bora said, “We, the Congress decided to invite all like-minded parties to oust the communal forces for the best interest of the country.” Chhattisgarh Chief Minister and senior party leader Bhupesh Baghel were also present at the event.

Bora said leaders of all five parties held discussions with Baghel and party general secretaries Mukul Wasnik and Jitendra Singh.

“We have concluded that in the coming Assam Assembly elections, we all will fight together to oust the BJP. At the same time, we will keep our doors open to invite the other regional parties of Assam and other anti-BJP parties to join our alliance,” Bora said.

The alliance members are, however, silent on who will the probable chief ministerial candidate for the alliance. On a question on the issue, Wasnik replied, “Let’s not have all questions answered on one single day.”

“We, six parties, appeal to other parties that if you want to save Assam, you want to help the youth of Assam realize their dreams and aspirations, you want Assam’s development, then we should come together and fight the elections,” said Congress general secretary Singh.

On the other hand, two important regional parties — Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP) and Raijor Dal — which were formed after the massive anti-CAA movement that had swept the state in 2019-20 are in talks for an alliance, according to leaders from the two outfits.

AJP has the backing of influential student bodies — All Assam Students’ Union (AASU) and Asom Jatiyatabadi Yuba Chatra Parishad (AJYCP) while Raijor Dal is the political platform of Krishak Mukti Sangram Samiti (KMSS), led by jailed activist Akhil Gogoi.

When Bora was asked about the effect of this alliance on Congress’s grand alliance, he replied, “That alliance will not affect our prospects.”

The alliance announcement comes at a time when the Congress in Assam is undergoing a series of setbacks. In December last year, two sitting MLAs of the party officially joined the BJP. These defections came on the heels of the Congress losing in two recently held local Council polls — BTC and Tiwa Autonomous Council (TAC) — in Assam.