GUWAHATI: It’s official now that the AGP is going solo in the forthcoming panchayat poll, despite being a coalition partner of the BJP-led government at Dispur.
At its central general council meeting held here on Wednesday, the AGP decided to go it alone in the panchayat poll. The BPF, the other coalition partner of the BJP at Dispur, is to take its decision on the issue on Sunday next when the party is going to hold its executive meeting.
Why is the AGP bent on going solo in the panchayat poll? Talking to The Sentinel, AGP general secretary Dr. Kamala Kanta Kalita said: “It’s final that we’re going it alone in the panchayat poll. Going for seat-sharing with the BJP in the panchayat poll can’t be smooth sailing now. Of late, some differences in opinion between the AGP and the BJP have cropped up. Such differences will prevent the two parties from wooing voters together for a common cause. Panchayat poll is a business of over 3,000 bodies under the Panchayati Raj institution. We don’t want to take risk.”
The meeting decided to strongly oppose the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 through vigorous agitations. The party is not ready to budge even an inch from its cut-off date, March 24, 1971. The problem of foreigners has to be solved on the basis of this cut-off date. The meeting has appealed to all sections of people in the State to exercise restraint in the current situation created by the Bill.
The backdrop of what Kalita said, it seems, is the ambience created in the State by the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016. This and many of its ilk are issues which the AGP, as a regional party, cannot ignore before going to voters. It seems that the controversial Bill is driving a wedge between the AGP and the BJP. This apart, the regional party, it seems, is eager to show its strength at the grassroots level. If the BPF also follows the suit of the AGP in the panchayat poll, then the three coalition partners at Dispur will be seen vying for panchayat seats. In such a situation, the Congress and the AIUDF are likely to enjoy the edge. Maybe, this is the reason why a section of BJP leaders has still been banking on some sort of seat-sharing with the AGP.