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Asom, battle ground for third front

Written by: Staff
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Guwahati, Mar 23 (UNI) Asom is fast emerging as the main battle ground for the third front at the Centre as the non-BJP opposition parties are set to unite in a bid to throw the ruling Congress out of power.

''The election is not only crucial for Asom but for India as a whole and the third front, under the leadership of Mulayam Singh Yadav, will play a key role here,'' Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) president Brindabon Goswami has said.

After yesterday's Parliament fiasco, the third front is sensing blood and Asom is soon turning into a battle ground for a much larger gameplan. ''We are very much in the third front and Samajwadi Party President Mulayam Singh Yadav and TDP leader Chandrababu Naidu are campaigning for us,'' said Mr Goswami.

With poll-bound West Bengal, Kerala, Tamil Nadu and Pondicherry offering no scope for the formation of an alternative front, it is Asom which has become the cynosure of all eyes as the Samajwadi Party is trying to cobble up a coalition minus the BJP.

The AGP is confident that they will stop the Congress juggernaut this time in Asom and have relied more on strategic seat sharing with the third front partners. However, they have been hampered by the split of anti-Congress vote with the BJP and other minor parties.

''This election will not only determine the course of political future of Asom but also of the whole country as this is the beginning of the end of Congress, both in Asom and in the Centre,'' Mr Goswami said.

Mr Yadav and Ms Jayaprada are among others who will campaign for the party.

The AGP is already having a seat sharing arrangement with the two left parties, CPI and CPI(M), besides other smaller ethnic groups.

''This is the broad contour of the third front. Apart from the Samajwadi party, there is also Telegu Desam, National Conference and Akali Dal. They will all help us in the elections,'' he said.

Mr Goswami is being projected as the Chief Ministerial candidate for the AGP, although he has shown reluctance in contesting the election at the moment. ''I have too much responsibility. I will have to lead the party and I cannot be confined to my constituency,'' he said.

As part of the third front strategy, the AGP did not allow room for NCP, which has very little relevance in Asom. The Samajwadi Party also does not have much presence here but it is more keen on AGP victory than their own.

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