Assam polls: BJP trashes reports of dissidence in party after 11 sitting MLAs denied tickets

By Express News Service
GUWAHATI: The BJP trashed reports that the denial of tickets to 11 MLAs and other aspirants triggered dissidence in the party.

“This happens in every election. The candidates are selected keeping in mind the best interest of the party and overall picture,” BJP’s Assam unit chief Ranjit Kumar Dass told journalists on Sunday at a joint press conference with Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL). The three parties are in an alliance.

The supporters of the 11 BJP MLAs, including a Minister, and the aspirants have already vented their ire in public. Some missing the bus are mulling contesting the polls on the tickets of other parties or as independent candidates.

Dass claimed that people believe in the BJP and the AGP as the state government succeeded in all spheres in the past five years. The BJP heads the state’s coalition government which also has AGP and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) as constituents.

The BJP’s ties with the BPF have since soured and the saffron party has found a new ally in UPPL. The BPF too has joined hands with a Congress-led and seven-party grand alliance of Opposition. BPF and UPPL hold sway in four districts under the Bodoland Territorial Region that has 12 seats.

Dass was confident the BJP-AGP-UPPL and the Rabha Joutha Mancha, a tribe-based organisation, would be able to grab 100 of the state’s 126 seats, a goal the alliance has set. In the 2016 elections, the BJP-AGP-BPF combine had won 86 seats (BJP-60, AGP-14 and BPF-12).

AGP president Atul Bora said the coalition would contest the polls as a team where one would support the candidate of the other. Except in five seats where BJP and AGP will have friendly contest, they are fielding consensus candidates in the remaining seats.

“Our workers will work for BJP and UPPL where AGP is not contesting and vice versa. We want to defeat this unholy alliance of Congress and AIUDF (All India United Democratic Front),” Bora said.