Assam: BJP Gets Back Crucial Ally Asom Gana Parishad, Improves Lok Sabha Poll Prospects

Assam: BJP Gets Back Crucial Ally Asom Gana Parishad, Improves Lok Sabha Poll ProspectsRam Madhav addressing press conference after finalisation of alliance (@rammadhavbjp/Twitter)

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) has got back its ally-the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP)-in Assam and will contest the forthcoming Lok Sabha elections jointly in the state. The BJP and its allies will also contest the elections unitedly in Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.

This comes as a severe jolt to the Congress, which had been hoping to exploit the differences between the BJP and its regional allies over the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill to win a respectable number of seats in the region.

BJP national general secretary Ram Madhav met top leaders of the AGP, and the chief ministers of Meghalaya, Nagaland, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh, in Guwahati late Tuesday evening (12 March) and drew up a strategy to fight the elections unitedly.

Assam Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and Assam Finance Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, who is the convener of the North East Democratic Alliance (NEDA) were also present.

Meghalaya Chief Minister Conrad Sangma’s National People's Party, Nagaland CM Neiphiu Rio’s Nationalist Democratic Progressive Party and some other regional parties are constituents of NEDA.

Differences developed between the BJP and its regional allies over the Citizenship Bill, but those have been resolved now. A seat sharing arrangement between the BJP, AGP and the Bodoland People's Front has been worked out in Assam.

NEDA convener Himanta Biswa Sarma said that the BJP and its allies would win 19 to 21 of the region’s 25 Lok Sabha seats. Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats, while Tripura, Meghalaya, Manipur and Arunachal Pradesh have two seats each and Mizoram, Nagaland and Sikkim have one seat each.

Tuesday’s agreement between the BJP and its regional allies to sink their differences over the Citizenship Bill and contest the polls unitedly has dramatically improved the BJP’s poll prospects in the region.