Tensions emerge in NDA allies in Assam ahead of 2024 Lok Sabha polls

| Updated: 07 November, 2023 12:07 pm IST

GUWAHATI: In the run-up to the 2024 Lok Sabha elections, signs of discord have surfaced within the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) in Assam, as the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) are reported to be at odds over seat-sharing arrangements. The NDA alliance in Assam includes the BJP, AGP, and the United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL).

The New Indian reached out to Atul Bora, the President of AGP and Assam Cabinet Minister, who shed light on the situation. Bora emphasised that, given their contributions, the regional party expects to secure seats in the upcoming Lok Sabha polls.

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He clarified, “We are part of the government, and it is functioning smoothly.” Atul Bora further noted that the AGP currently does not have a single Lok Sabha Member of Parliament (MP), and in the previous election, they had to contest from Dhubri, Barpeta, and Koliabar, which were demographically distinct constituencies.

Bora underlined that demographic changes following delimitation have taken place, and although the BJP allocated one Rajya Sabha seat, this time, the AGP anticipates being allotted a number of seats.

The party is actively engaged in organising meetings across the state, and Bora revealed that they have received a positive response from the people, particularly the youth, who hold strong emotional ties to the AGP. He further pointed out that formal discussions regarding seat-sharing with the BJP have yet to occur but expressed optimism that the process will transpire amicably.

The United Opposition, spearheaded by the Congress, has seized upon these internal differences to confront the BJP. Congress leader and Assam MLA Rockybul Hussain highlighted what he sees as the BJP’s shifting positions on their electoral prospects, noting that the Assam Chief Minister initially claimed they would secure 14 seats, but the figure has since been revised downward. Hussain asserted that the BJP’s indecision on candidates has exacerbated the situation.

In response, senior BJP leader and Assam MP Pabitra Margherita vehemently refuted the Congress’s claims, emphasising that the BJP’s relations with its alliance partners remain harmonious.

Margherita dismissed seat-sharing speculations as opposition-driven, and in an interview with The New Indian, he stated, “It is premature now to share about the seat sharing. We have been very cordial with all our alliances from the last decade and we have seen the Assam Gana Parishad, the UPPL, and all the alliance partners working together in all the elections.

“That is why out of the 80 town committee elections, we have 78 and our success rate is 98-99 per cent only because of trust and support for each other by our alliance partners. Our alliance is always strong and maintained. The terms and conditions written or unwritten, we are fulfilling for a decade.”

Margherita concluded by expressing confidence in the NDA alliance’s ability to secure over 21 seats out of the 25 in the Northeast region, as a substantial number of seats are currently held by the NDA and its allies.

Currently, the NDA and its allies hold 10 out of the 14 Lok Sabha seats in Assam, with the BJP claiming nine of them.

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