Of late, talk about a mahagathbandhan in Assam, of the kind that was forged in Bihar before the recent Assembly elections there, has been doing the rounds. Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi’s proposal for an alliance between like-minded ‘secular’ political parties to keep the BJP out has been there for quite some time. And amid speculations of a pre-poll alliance between the Congress and the AIUDF, there have been stout and repeated denials from the AIUDF about any such moves. The AIUDF kept claiming that it would fight the forthcoming Assembly elections on its own, and that all speculations about alliances with other parties were to be discounted. Tarun Gogoi of the Congress, however, did express willingness to have an alliance of sorts, but also indicated that his efforts were not taking him very far. That was when a section of the press came up with the news on Monday that an alliance between the Congress and the Asom Ga Parishad (AGP) had been filized. The report also said that the AGP had waited till the last moment for alliance with the BJP, and that in the absence of any fil response, the party was obliged to go in for an alliance with the Congress. It is significant that AGP president Atul Bora and former president Prafulla Kumar Mahanta had already held discussions with Bihar Chief Minister Nitish Kumar (who had achieved notable success in keeping out the BJP by going in for a mahagathbandhan with like-minded parties in Bihar) and Ram Jethmalani. Mahanta had also held discussions with Prashant Kishore who had masterminded the success of the mahagathbandhan in Bihar. It is not yet clear whether the AIUDF, that came into being after the IM(DT) Act was struck down by the Supreme Court, will openly join the alliance between the Congress and the AGP.
Amid all this speculation about the proposed mahagathbandhan in Assam, the AGP has denied that it has any kind of poll ties with the Congress and the AIUDF. On Monday, the AGP clarified that it had not held any discussion with either the Congress or the AIUDF. In a statement made in Guwahati, AGP general secretary the Ramendra rayan Kalita said that there could not be any question of the AGP entering into any alliance with political parties that were playing the role of protector of the illegal migrants. He said that the AGP would arrive at a political decision on electoral alliance by keeping its origil character intact and by upholding the interests of the indigenous people of the State. This was the very least that could be expected from a political party that had its genesis in the six-year long Assam Movement against the illegal presence of foreign tiols in the State and the inclusion of their mes in the electoral roll of the State. Considering that the Congress had a major role in promoting such illegal migration from Bangladesh over the years, a political party like the AGP would not have any moral justification in aligning with one that was largely responsible for its having to launch the Assam Movement against foreign tiols illegally residing in Assam. It would have even stronger reasons to reject any overtures by a political party like the AIUDF that neither has a tiol character despite its me nor is democratic in the true sense of the word, but is actually a political party that supports the foreign tiols residing illegally in the State. The AGP must not let itself forget that the AIUDF came into being on the Supreme Court’s comprehensive verdict against the IM(DT) Act which the AGP had consistently opposed all through. There is no denying that the AGP does not have too many choices in the forthcoming elections, and that its prospects without some kind of an electoral alliance are extremely limited. Even so, it cannot afford to jeopardise its credibility, and should, therefore, do well to confine its alliances with other regiol parties that represent the different ethnic groups of the State.