Congress, BJP, AIUDF key players in Assam
A direct contest between the ruling Congress and the BJP is on the cards for a majority of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam going to poll, though the All India United Democratic Front is likely to do good in the minority-dominated seats.
Guwahati: A direct contest between the ruling Congress and the BJP is on the cards for a majority of the 14 Lok Sabha constituencies in Assam going to poll, though the All India United Democratic Front is likely to do good in the minority-dominated seats.
The house of Asom Gana Parishad, which at one time dictated the direction of Assam politics, is in a state of disarray as several of its top leaders have deserted the party to join the BJP.
The Congress had emerged as the single largest party in the 2009 Lok Sabha poll winning seven seats while its ally the Bodoland Peoples` Party had retained Kokrajhar.
The BJP had finished second with four seats while the AGP and the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) had won one seat each.
The AGP`s fortune has been on a downswing ever since it was relegated to third place in the 2011 Assembly poll, mostly on account of the fast-rising AIUDF.
The first prominent leader to desert the AGP was former student leader Sarbananda Sonowal who joined the BJP and went on to become the party`s state unit president.
He was followed by the party`s founder-members and former powerful state ministers Chandramohan Patowary and Hiten Goswami.
The defectors alleged that they were forced to leave the party as the rank and file had lost confidence in their founder-president and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta who, however, refused to step down as party leader.
The AGP had finished second in four seats in the last polls, but the going appears to be tough for the regional party with the BJP going all out to consolidate their position in the state with the national leadership paying particular attention to the state.
Batting for the BJP, Sonowal said, "People in Assam are fed up with the anti-people policies of the Congress-led government and want to give the BJP a chance at the Centre."
Claiming that there was a distinct Modi wave blowing across the country, Sonowal said, "The BJP will definitely improve its performance in the state riding on the Modi wave and will get more than the four seats it had won in the last LS polls."
Another AGP leader Chandramohan Patowary, a former minister of the party, argued, "People have lost faith in the regional party`s leadership and want a change. The grassroot workers of the AGP are very restless and disappointed with the developments within the party."