Seat-sharing with allies early March, says Assam BJP chief

We will win as Cong.-AIUDF alliance “encourages illegal immigration”, State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass says.

Two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi said the Election Commission was expected to announce the dates for the Assam Assembly elections by the first week of March, the State BJP unit said it would work out the seat-sharing formula with its two regional partners soon.

The list of party candidates would also be announced by mid-March, State BJP president Ranjeet Kumar Dass said.

“We are analysing the possibilities of win for deciding which party will contest how many seats. Our allies can get fewer or more seats than in 2016 after the picture becomes clearer,” he told The Hindu.

The BJP had contested the 2016 Assam polls in alliance with the Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and the Bodoland People’s Front (BPF). It won 60 of the 89 and the AGP 14 of the 30 seats contested while the BPF had the best strike rate by winning 12 of the 13 seats contested.

The BJP replaced the BPF with the United People’s Party Liberal this time and there are chances that the new regional ally, confined to the Bodoland Territorial Region, would end up contesting fewer seats than it is eyeing for.

There is a possibility of the AGP ending up with fewer seats because of the perception that the Assam Jatiya Parishad (AJP), a new regional party born of the same students’ organisations, has made inroads into its support base.

Too hot to handle

Mr. Dass, however, exuded confidence that the BJP-led alliance would be too hot to handle for the other two pre-poll coalitions — the grand alliance of the Congress, the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) and four other parties, and the AJP’s regional front with jailed peasants’ leader Akhil Gogoi’s Raijor Dal.

“We will benefit from the grand alliance because people know the Congress has been encouraging illegal immigration while the AIUDF has been their patron and protector,” he said.

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