oppn parties BJP Ropes in AGP in Assam: Will it be Enough?

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Election Commission announces elections in Maharashtra and Haryana on October 21. Counting and results on October 24. Bypolls, including for 15 seats in Karnataka, will be held simultaneously
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BJP Ropes in AGP in Assam: Will it be Enough?

By Sunil Garodia

About the Author

Sunil Garodia Editor-in-Chief of indiacommentary.com. Current Affairs analyst and political commentator. Writes for a number of publications.
The pre-poll alliance struck by the BJP with the AGP in Assam has been met with protests from ordinary workers of both parties. But if one sees the seat sharing announcement, it is the BJP which stands to gain from it. The AGP has been given just 24 seats (assembly strength: 126). Most of these seats are what can be termed ‘unwinnable.’

The Congress holds 12 and the AIUDF 5 of the seats that the AGP has been allotted. Further, 5 seats that the AGP won in 2011 have been snared by the BJP while in return it has given AGP only 2 of the seats it won then. The scenario could not have been bleaker for the regional party that has been plumbing the depths in each successive election. It is also a measure of the despondency in AGP ranks that they have agreed to this formula.

But the BJP has quietly managed to pull off a coup of sorts by tying up with the AGP, the BPF and two organizations of Tiwa and Rabha communities in the state. Although it remains to be seen what kind of electoral dividend this strategy pays, it is still clear that it is better than dividing anti-Congress vote.

It is also clear that even though the Congress and the AIUDF might not strike a pre-poll alliance, in case of a hung assembly these two parties are most likely to come together to form the government in the state with a single point agenda of keeping the BJP out. In that case, Badruddin Ajmal is likely to emerge as the king maker and will surely extract more than his pound of flesh. It will also make him and his party a stronger force to reckon with in coming years.

This is a situation that the BJP wants to prevent at all costs and it is hence tying up with small local players to ensure that some sort of mahagathbandhan emerges and propels it to power. Although the state is not witnessing any specific wave, it is clear that after 15 years of lackluster rule, Tarun Gogoi and the Congress have to guard against anti incumbency. At the same time, the BJP cannot hope to cash in on the so called 'Modi wave' which has fast dissipated in the face of rising inflation and lack of reforms due to a parliament that is not working. Things are tricky in the state and despite the organizational acumen of Himanta Biswa Sarma, which is on the BJP side this time, it is difficult to hazard a guess as to the outcome of the elections.