The BJP and the AGP have decided to form an alliance in order to fight the forthcoming Assembly elections of Assam. With the latest poll pact, the BJP-led alliance now includes the Bodos, Tiwas and Rabhas as well. The BJP-AGP pre-poll alliance which was concluded and fine-tuned in New Delhi, evinces pragmatism from both partners of the alliance in respect of their expectations of the poll outcome. The BJP is now aware that its ‘Mission 84’ objective was a trifle over-ambitious. The AGP too has seen the dismal results of ploughing the lone furrow during the last two Assembly elections. All its professed commitment to regiol aspirations seem to have got it nowhere in terms of seats in the Assembly. What is worse, the Congress made the AGP lose a good deal of precious time by dangling promises of an alliance with it, even though it had no intentions of forming any pre-poll alliance with the AGP. The AGP was desperate for a viable alliance for yet another important reason. Its fincial condition was quite pathetic, and it urgently needed a supporter to be in any condition to fight the elections. The alliance with the BJP was a sort of a godsend. The New Delhi meeting of the AGP leadership with the BJP high command resulted not only in a swift pre-poll alliance but also in an expeditious seat-sharing agreement, The AGP will now contest 24 Assembly seats, apart from contesting one or two other seats that will also have BJP candidates. The 24 seats left to the AGP by the BJP are harkotiya, Amguri, Teok, Dergaon, Bokakhat, Sarupathar, Koliabar, Barhampur, West Guwahati, Chaygaon, Boko, Bongaigaon, South Abhayapuri, North Abhayapuri, Barpeta, Patacharkuchi, Kamalpur, Tezpur, North Lakhimpur, Jamumukh, Lahorighat, West Bilaspur, Sarukhetri and Dalgaon.
There are reports of both BJP and AGP grassroots-level workers being resentful of the alliance between the two political parties. After all, this is not the first time that there has been some kind of an electoral agreement between the two political parties in respect of Assam Assembly elections. One earlier pre-poll agreement between the two parties had disastrous consequences for both parties. However, there was one major difference. On that occasion, the BJP candidates were fighting AGP candidates as well. It is too much to expect the grassroots-level party workers to forget all this. Even so, the results are likely to be somewhat different this time for more reasons than one. One important reason is that there is bound to be some anti-incumbency voting against the Congress both for a very high level of corruption as also for much fraud on its claims of having achieved a great deal of development during its uninterrupted tenure of 15 years. People are also getting wise to the way in which expensive full-page government advertisements on the State’s development are based on too much of incorrect and inflated data. For instance, people have also seen how empty the government’s claims have been on the number of bridges built. Video clips of several local television channels have shown how the government has taken credit even for unsafe ramshackle bamboo bridges as well as for just a steel girder thrown across any existing gap (without even handholds). Likewise there is fraud committed on the people even in respect of the State’s power scerio and its law-and-order situation. The political party that is most likely to benefit from the anti-incumbency voting is the AIUDF with which the Congress has post-poll alliance plans because the cutting edge rests with the illegal Bangladeshi voters in about ten Assembly constituencies. As such, in Assembly constituencies where the illegal Bangladeshi voter is not the deciding factor, there are slightly better chances of the BJP or the AGP getting the advantage this time. Even so, the possibility of a hung Assembly looms large.