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|October 12, 1999||
AGP moves towards a split
Confusion prevails in the ruling Asom Gana Parishad after its second consecutive poll debacle. Some dissidents are now pushing the party towards a split.
A section wants to align with the Bharatiya Janata Party while another is opposed to the move. Although the AGP's official stand is that it will not join the National Democratic Alliance, a large section think that aligning with the BJP is the only way for the party's survival, especially with the assembly election due in May 2001.
Meanwhile, a split in the AGP appears imminent as three senior dissident leaders, led by former home minister Bhrigu Kumar Phukan, have called for a state-wide convention to 'cleanse' the party and form a new outfit under the banner of Trinamul AGP.
AGP spokesman Nurul Hussain said: ''The proposed party will not have any relevance.'' He ruled out the possibility of joining the NDA.
The dissidents have the support of Dr Krishna Gopal Bhattacharrya, a loyalist since its inception. What worries a section of the AGP supporters is that the split might take away a large chunk of leaders with BJP leanings. The AGP's 'softness' towards the BJP and the Communist Party of India-Marxist's growing proximity with the Congress at the national level has also eaten into the AGP's support base.
"The Left parties' stand has completely confused our voters,'' admits Chief Minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanata.
The Left had not backed the AGP, suspecting it of having links with the BJP.
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