Assam polls: BJP, allies reaffirm poll commitment

Sarbananda Sonowal government’s performance and development initiatives will help the alliance retain power, constituent party chiefs said

The Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and its two main regional allies on Sunday reaffirmed their commitment towards the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) while making light of the reported dissidence over the denial of tickets to 15 MLAs.

The BJP is contesting the three-phase Assam Assembly elections with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL), the latter replacing the Bodoland People’s Front as the saffron party’s ally in areas under the Bodoland Territorial Council covering 12 constituencies.

Of the 15 MLAs denied tickets, 11, including a Minister, are from the BJP, and four are from the AGP.

The BJP had on March 5 announced the names of 70 candidates for the first phase of polling on March 27 and the second phase on April 1. According to the seat-sharing agreement, the AGP would contest in a total of 26 seats and the UPPL in eight.

“Our government has been successful in all aspects. People thus believe in BJP and the AGP, which has been a partner in the government, and our new friend UPPL that has endeared itself within three months of ruling the Bodoland Territorial Council (BTC) with us,” State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass told journalists on Sunday.

He added that the three parties and the Rabha Joutha Mancha would be able to achieve the alliance’s mission of winning 100 of Assam’s 126 Assembly seats.

He addressed the media along with Agriculture Minister and AGP president Atul Bora and UPPL president Pramod Boro, who is also the Chief Executive Member of the BTC.

“Our workers will help the BJP and UPPL candidates where AGP is not contesting. Every worker wants to support candidates from his or her own party, but compromises have to be made for the greater good. We have chosen this path to defeat the unholy alliance of Congress and AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front),” Mr. Bora said.

He dismissed reports of dissidence with the party. “This happens in every election. A party has to take certain decisions keeping the overall picture in mind,” he said.

“We have joined a national party with a regionalist sentiment. We believe the combination will go a long way in ensuring development, for the BTC areas and the State,” Mr. Boro said.

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