Tension mounts among Assam's INDIA bloc parties over division of seats
Guwahati, Nov 5 : Much before the 26 opposition parties made the INDIA bloc, Congress in Assam was successful in bringing together 12 parties to form a unified front against the BJP, but now tension seems to be brewing among them.
The joint opposition forum included Left parties, Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi's Raijor Dol, former All Assam Students Union (AASU) leader Lurinjyoti Gogoi's Asom Jatiya Parishad (AJP), and others. But the joint forum lacks a prominent player in Assam politics -- All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF).
Initially, Mamata Banerjee's Trinamool Congress (TMC) and Arvind Kejriwal's Aam Aadmi Party (AAP) were also not given a place in the opposition forum.
Following the announcement of INDIA bloc, the situation changed to a great extent and both Trinamool Congress and AAP are now constituents of the opposition alliance.
However, tension is simmering among the allies over the ticket distribution. Assam has a total of 14 Lok Sabha seats. In the 2019 general elections, Congress fought for the maximum number of seats. But this time, as they forged a bigger alliance, and the allies are demanding seats.
The Aam Aadmi Party leaders have said that they are keen to contest on five Lok Sabha seats. The other key constituent of INDIA bloc, Trinamool Congress has also demanded at least five seats. The Left parties have requested to give them three seats. The Raijor Dal chief and Sivasagar MLA Akhil Gogoi has openly said that he would contest from the Jorhat Lok Sabha seat.
Congress is not ready to give its allies many seats. Although the state Congress president, Bhupen Borah has been speaking about sacrifice to combat with the BJP in polls, he also said, 'Our primary aim is to beat the BJP. All parties, including the Congress, are ready to sacrifice for the cause. I hope every leader will understand this.'
'We must ensure that there is only one candidate from the INDIA bloc against the BJP in each Lok Sabha seat in Assam. The ticket distribution will be decided by Delhi leaders. In Assam, we shall accept the decisions taken by the high command,' Borah added.
The Assam Congress president further said that the opposition parties should take note of the strength of the grand old party in the state.
He mentioned, 'The Congress party has three Lok Sabha MPs and more than 20 MLAs in Assam. While distributing the tickets for Lok Sabha, this fact will have to be considered by all.'
In the previous Lok Sabha election, Congress won three seats in Assam -- Nagaon, Kaliabor and Barpeta.
Gaurav Gogoi is an MP from Kaliabor seat; however, owing to delimitation, this Lok Sabha constituency no longer exists. Gogoi has been looking for a new constituency to fight the polls. According to party sources, he is keen to contest from Jorhat where Akhil Gogoi already has staked his claim.
Abdul Khaleque, who is a Congress MP from Barpeta, has announced that he will fight polls from there. But the Left parties have been demanding this seat from the alliance.
The contention with ticket distribution among the allies in the INDIA bloc in Assam might be good news for the BJP. Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma said, 'This is 'Khichdi' alliance and the BJP will be successful to win more than 11 Lok Sabha seats in Assam.'
Assam has 14 Lok Sabha seats and 126 Assembly seats.