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AGP the biggest loser in Assam polls

National,Politics, Sun, 17 May 2009 IANS

Guwahati, May 17 (IANS) The regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) has emerged as the biggest loser, while the minority-based Asom United Democratic Front (AUDF) has turned out to be a major spoiler for the ruling Congress party in the 2009 general elections in Assam.


'The biggest casualty is undoubtedly the AGP as the party fared miserably in the polls having won just one seat compared to two seats it won in the 2004 elections,' Akhil Ranjan Dutta, a political science teacher at Gauhati University, told IANS.



The AGP this time had a seat sharing agreement with the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP).



Of the 14 parliamentary seats, the Congress won seven seats, while its alliance partner the Bodoland People's Front (BPF) bagged one. The BJP won four seats - an increase in two seats compared to 2004 - while both the AGP and the AUDF got one each.



'The AGP's gamble failed on two counts - the way they thought the transfer of votes from the BJP to their candidates would take place did not work out and secondly the regional party lost their minority Muslim support base this time by aligning with the saffron party,' said Wasbir Hussain, a political analyst.



'The AGP's regional character has gone for a big toss now and there is bound to be questions raised over their decision from within the party,' he added.



The AGP leadership is trying to put up a brave front.



'We accept the verdict of the people of Assam and things did not go according to expectations,' said AGP president Chandra Mohan Patowary.



There were questions now asked if the AGP-BJP tie up would continue till the 2011 assembly elections - an announcement the two parties made earlier.



'We would discuss all issues within the party,' Patowary added.



The Congress that won nine seats in 2004 had to be content with seven seats this time, although the party leadership is not too disappointed with the results.



'We are generally happy at the results, although we expected at least one or two more seats. But one must appreciate the fact that it was a united opposition this time with the AGP-BJP and even the AUDF targeting Congress only in the electioneering,' Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi told IANS.



What came as a surprise is the emergence of the AUDF, a party formed by perfume baron Badruddin Ajmal.



The AUDF may have won just one seat - Ajmal won the Dhubri parliamentary seat - but the party managed to split the Muslim votes and really spoiled the winning chances of the Congress party candidates on four seats - Silchar, Mangaldoi, Tezpur, and Nagaon.



'It is true the AUDF was a factor, but I am still sticking to my stand of not aligning with the AUDF,' Gogoi said.



'It is true the BJP gained at the expense of the AGP, while the AGP was left high and dry and in fact lost its credibility. Even in 2001, the AGP tied up with the BJP during the assembly elections and that time as well they were humiliated in the elections,' said Health Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma.


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