The Asom Gana Parishad has formed an alliance with the Bharatiya Janata Party for the Assembly elections in Assam, which are likely to be held in April or May. BJP chief Amit Shah met AGP president Atul Bora and party leader Prafulla Kumar Mahanta on Wednesday in Delhi to finalise the deal.
The Economic Times reported that the move was part of the BJP's larger plan to form a "rainbow alliance" with regional parties of the state to take on the Congress and the All India United Democratic Front in the elections. Out of the 126 seats in the state Assembly, the AGP is likely to contest 25 to 28. The parties are still negotiating on the final numbers, and a formal announcement on this will be made soon.
The alliance was formed despite strong resistance from several leaders and workers of both parties. Last month, the AGP had said that the party will not forge an alliance with the BJP, fearing dissent from grassroot workers. Party leaders had expressed their position against the tie-up, including senior leader Utpal Dutta who threatened to quit the AGP if it went ahead with the alliance.
Dutta is an MLA from Lakhimpur, where there was unrest soon after the alliance was announced. Union Sports and Youth Affairs Minister Sarbanand Sonowal, BJP's chief ministerial candidate, was reportedly not very enthusiastic the alliance either. Sources said the reason is that AGP is strong in Upper Assam, which is also Sonowal's area of influence.