Assam Cong chief Bhupen Borah meets Akhil Gogoi for talks on bypolls
Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah (left) and Raijor Dal supremo Akhil Gogoi

Guwahati: Assam Congress chief Bhupen Kumar Borah has met Raijor Dal supremo Akhil Gogoi to evaluate possibilities of jointly fighting the assembly bypolls likely to be held by the end of this year.

However, the late-night deliberations at Sivasagar on Monday remained inconclusive and both parties vowed to carry forward the discussions in the coming days.

“It was just a courtesy meeting as I am in his (Gogoi’s) constituency for our party meeting…we both are against the BJP’s divisive policies. We discussed how we will fight the saffron camp in future,” Borah told reporters.

He appreciated Akhil Gogoi, an Independent MLA from Sivasagar, for joining hands with the Congress inside the Assembly to raise voice against the “anti-people decisions” of the state government.

“Earlier, we had tried to be united against the BJP and we will try again in future,” Borah said without elaborating.

On the other hand, Gogoi said that the two anti-BJP parties should unite for a long term instead of a shorter period.

“We discussed how to defeat the BJP in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and how to form a government in Assam after the 2026 Assembly elections. We also evaluated options regarding the bypolls, but nothing has been decided yet,” he said.

This was the second round of meetings between top leaders of the two parties. On August 8, Congress working presidents Rana Goswami and Jakir Hussain Sikdar had visited the Raijor Dal’s headquarters in Guwahati to meet Gogoi and other senior leaders.

On August 16, another opposition party Assam Jatiya Parishad’s vice presidents Shamsher Singh and Kamal Nayan Choudhury had met Borah and discussed a proposal to put up common candidates against the BJP-led alliance in the Assembly bypolls.

AJP and Raijor Dal had formed a ‘Regional Alliance’, which was not part of the Congress-led ‘Grand Alliance’ in the assembly election this year. The Raijor Dal won one seat, while AJP drew a blank.

Before the assembly polls, both the groupings had called for establishing a united platform of all opposition parties but the ‘Regional Alliance’ had shied away from joining the ‘Grand Alliance’ due to the presence of All India United Democratic Front (AIUDF) in it.

The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, formed the ‘Grand Alliance’ with AIUDF, BPF, CPI(M), CPI, CPI(ML), Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM), RJD, Adivasi National Party (ANP) and Jimochayan (Deori) Peoples Party (JPP).

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In the 126-member Assam Assembly, the BJP bagged 60 seats, while its allies AGP won nine and UPPL six. In the opposition camp, the Congress won 29, AIUDF 16, BPF four and CPI(M) cornered one seat. Raijor Dal won one seat as an Independent.

As per the seat arrangements of assembly at present, byelections will take place in five seats. One MLA each of United People’s Party Liberal (UPPL) and Bodoland People’s Front (BPF) has died, while two Congress legislators have resigned to join the BJP.

Former chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal, who joined the Union Cabinet as a minister, is yet to submit his resignation paper in the assembly, but is likely to do so in the coming days.

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