Express News Service
GUWAHATI: Assam activist-turned-politician Akhil Gogoi met Congress leader Rahul Gandhi in New Delhi on Wednesday for an alliance between his Raijor Dal and the grand old party.
Recently, an already weakened Congress severed its ties with the All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF), protesting the leaders of the minority-based party singing paeans of ruling BJP and Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.
Gogoi sees this as an opportunity to fill up the vacuum created by the AIUDF by offering the Congress his support to ensure that his fledgling Raijor Dal could ride piggyback on the banner of the national party.
The Congress and the AIUDF were two key components of a grand alliance of Opposition or “Mahajot”. It was formed ahead of last elections to defeat the BJP.
The Congress’s state leadership is averse to a political alignment with Raijor Dal and made it known in no uncertain terms. However, Gogoi still met Gandhi to try and secure the alliance.
“I met Rahul Gandhi and Mukul Wasnik. We discussed how we (opposition parties) can fight to restore the federal structure of the country, the recently-held Assam elections and the upcoming by-elections in the state,” Gogoi, who is Raijor Dal’s lone MLA, told journalists.
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Praising Gandhi for his political maturity and experience, he said the Congress duo had clearly stated that there should be an understanding.
“Since the Congress high command favours the alliance, the party’s state leadership has to accept it. If they do so, the BJP will be uprooted in Assam,” Gogoi asserted, adding, “If the BJP is to be defeated, we have to unite. We will defeat BJP in upper Assam.”
The Congress’s state president Bhupen Kumar Borah, who left for Delhi on Thursday, told this newspaper that the state unit would abide by the decision of the party’s central leaders.
“I will meet all top leaders of our party and apprise them how he (Akhil Gogoi) attempted to belittle the Congress in public with his statements such as ‘Congress is a setting sun’, ‘Congress cannot do well under Rahul Gandhi’ etc,” Borah said.
He added that the Congress workers were unhappy over such remarks.
One reason behind the Congress’s defeat in the last elections was its dismal performance in Assamese-majority upper Assam where a strong sentiment of Assamese sub-nationalism works and where people view the AIUDF as the protector of illegal Bangladeshi immigrants.
The Congress-AIUDF poll tie-up had helped the minority-based party more than the grand old party.