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Regional parties must form a strong anti-Congress front: Mahanta

G Vinayak in Guwahati | July 07, 2005 17:55 IST

Former Assam chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta has left a door ajar for the present leadership in the Asom Gana Parishad to make a reconciliatory move with him and his followers by asserting that the main aim of all secular regional forces should be to form an anti-Congress front rather than indulge in infighting.

Mahanta, who is the founder president of the AGP, said his expulsion from the AGP is the result of a conspiracy by the Congress.

"It is a suicidal step by the AGP to expel me and some other prominent colleagues in the party. But I hope better sense will prevail and the AGP will come together once again to defeat the Congress in the forthcoming assembly elections," Mahanta told a media conference on Wednesday.

He asserted that his expulsion from the AGP cannot force him to give up his ideal of regionalism.

Mahanta was given a rousing welcome to Guwahati by his supporters in the party at the Lokapriya Gopinath Bardoloi airport on his arrival from Delhi on Wednesday afternoon.

Talking to the media at the airport immediately after his arrival, Mahanta said that he was surprised at the decision of the AGP leadership to expel him from the party.

"They can expel me from the AGP temporarily, but they cannot force me to give up my ideals of regionalism and regional politics," he said. 

He alleged that the leadership of the AGP took the decision to expel him from the party as some leaders wanted to settle personal scores with him and some forces from outside the party also played their part in the move.

He expressed the view that the people of Assam wanted regional forces to remain united to defeat the Congress, and all the leaders of the AGP should respect the sentiments of the people of Assam.

He, however, said that unity is not an one-sided affair and hoped that the present leadership of the regional party will reconsider their decision to expel him from the party in the interest of fulfilling the hopes and aspirations of the people of the state.

Replying to a question on his future plans, the former chief minister said that he has not taken any decision on forming a new political party as he is still expecting that the AGP leadership will realise their mistakes.

He said that he would hold talks with his supporters, well wishers and political colleagues before taking any decision. "I still do not want a split in the AGP. But I cannot say what step we would be forced to take in the days to come," he added.

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