The Asom Gana Parishad has backed out of forming an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party after three months of negotiations, and will contest in the assembly elections solo. It said on Thursday that the saffron party was more interested in gaining control of the region than putting up a strong opposition for the Congress. “We tried to help it [BJP] put up a strong front against the Congress. But instead, it seemed to be only trying to wipe out the AGP,” AGP President Atul Bora said, adding that it was unacceptable that the BJP was willing to give them only 14 out of 126 seats, while they had asked for 40.

The AGP came to the decision in a meeting of its central committee, during which leaders from different constituencies protested against an alliance with the BJP. “For the AGP, there is no difference between the BJP and the Congress. Both national parties have caused almost equal harm to Assam’s interests,” Bora said. He also accused the BJP of poaching AGP leaders when negotiations were underway.

The two parties had entered into alliance thrice before – for the 2001 assembly elections, and the 2004 and 2009 Lok Sabha polls. “On all three occasions...people of Assam had seen through the false promises of the BJP, [and] many people who had voted for them will now return to our fold,” Bora said.