Opp realigning, AGP factions coming together

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Guwahati, Apr 25 (UNI) The Opposition is realigning and factions of the regional parties are coming together in Assam to corner the ruling Congress.

Last night the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) unification committee decided to have formal discussion on unification with splinter groups like the Trinamool Gana Parishad(TGP), Asom Gana Parishad(P) and both factions of the Purbanchaliya Loka Parishad(PLP).

''It is a major development and we are inching ahead for a formal unification,'' said AGP Working President Phanibhusan Choudhury.

Sensing trouble, the Congress launched an attack on former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta.

Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi yesterday personally took on Mr Mahanta, accusing him of trying to collude with the Congress to ensure AGP's defeat.

''He had even met Mr Digvijay Singh. I stopped it as I convinced the High Command that it would be a waste,'' Mr Gogoi said at a press conference, stunning the political circle.

This angered the AGP and Mr Mahanta counter attacked saying ''it (Mr Gogoi's statement) was politically motivated and the Congress is scared of us''.

Meanwhile, the BJP and AGP have reached an understanding of sharing five seats each of the 14 Lok Sabha seats, leaving the rest to smaller parties.

''We are trying to have some sort of understanding and talks are on. We are hopeful that both parties can work out something,'' said BJP national Secretary and MP from Arunachal Pradesh Khiren Riiju.

''The AGP is swinging from one end to the other. Sometimes they are with the Left and sometimes they are with the BJP. It only shows that they are nothing but opportunists,'' Mr Gogoi remarked.

The Congress has won every single election since 1998 decimating the Opposition time and again.

Realising that a divided Opposition cannot match the Congress, the BJP and AGP had decided to come together, although no official statement had been made. But they tasted success when a combined Opposition managed to get AGP's Birendra Prasad Baishya to the Rajya Sabha.

''The way the Congress is reacting to our moves only suggests that they are worried. They must know that more trouble is coming,'' said leader of Opposition and AGP leader Chandra Mohan Patowary.

In private, both parties were discussing the seat sharing formula but were not making it official for strategic reasons. With the Assam United Democratic Front (AUDF) determined to divide the minority Muslim votes, the AGP found BJP warmer than the Left and other parties.

''The AGP does not seem to know where they are. Their President Brindabon Goswami is sharing platform with the Third Front, while his deputies are talking with the BJP and even getting help from the AUDF,'' Congress Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma had said.

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