The Assam unit of the Congress on Monday announced that it was severing ties with the All India United Democratic Front, which was a part of the Grand Alliance formed in the state ahead of the Assembly polls held earlier this year.

In a statement, Assam Pradesh Congress Committee President Bhupen Kumar Borah said that the decision was taken because of the All India United Democratic Front’s “mysterious praise” of the Bharatiya Janata Party and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma has negatively affected the public perception of the state unit of the Sonia Gandhi-led party.

The core committee of the Assam Pradesh Congress Committee unanimously reached the decision and would inform the All India Congress Committee about it, the statement said.

Earlier, AIUDF leader and former MP Sirajuddin Ajmal had praised Sarma’s capabilities as a chief minister, reported The Times of India. On Sunday, AIUDF MLA Phanidhar Talukdar had announced that he was switching sides to join the BJP.

Besides Badruddin Ajmal-led AIUDF and the Congress, the Grand Alliance includes Jimochayan (Deori) People’s Party, Adivasi National Party, Anchalik Gana Morcha, Bodoland People’s Party, Rashtriya Janata Dal and three Left parties.

AIUDF Organisation Secretary Md Aminul Islam said the Congress decision to sever ties was a “historical blunder”, reported the Hindustan Times.

“[The] Congress can’t accuse us of having nexus with the BJP,” he added. “Instead, today’s decision was the outcome of pro-BJP elements within [the] Congress. It was a BJP strategy to use Sivasagar MLA and Raijor Dal president Akhil Gogoi to break our alliance. They become successful in that and Congress was the loser.”

Several Congress leaders have said the party should try to include Raijor Dal in the Grand Alliance, according to the Hindustan Times.

Asked about comments that the AIUDF was praising the BJP, Islam said that only one of its leaders had complimented Sarma, reported The Indian Express. “But at least two Congress MLAs have left the party to join the BJP,” he added. “What do they have to say to that?”

At core-committee meeting on Monday, the Assam Congress authorised Borah to decide on its alliance with the Bodoland People’s Party, reported the Hindustan Times.

The announcement to break ties with the AIUDF came after Congress MP Gaurav Gogoi had said on August 25 that it was time for the party “to be independent of the Mahajot [Grand Alliance]”.

The decision was also taken ahead of the bye-elections to at least five seats – Tamulpur, Gossaigaon, Mariani, Majuli and Thowra.