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Assam parties to unite against Congress
K Anurag in Guwahati | May 05, 2008 19:51 IST
The stage has been set for the unification of Assam's four regional political groups for formation of combined force against the ruling Congress.
As the regional parties have agreed 'in principle' to join hands in forming one single force to give challenge to Congress, the stage is also set for fomer Assam chief minister and founder president of Asom Gana Parishad Prafulla Kumar Mahanta for coming back to the party he had formed in 1985 as a culmination of Assam's agitation against illegal migrants.
The main opposition party, the regional AGP and its breakaway faction, Asom Gana Parishad (Progressive) led by Mahanta, Trinamool Gana Parishad and Purbanchaliya Loka Parishad on Monday agreed in principle to go ahead with the AGP-initiated move forformation of a unified regional political group in the state. It was decided in a marathon meeting held at the headquarter of the AGP in Guwahati.
The AGP-initiated move to reunite all like-minded regional forces received a boost when Mahanta came to the AGP headquarter in Guwahati to attend the meeting with the AGP's 11-member committee on unification of regional forces putting to rest all speculations about his aversion to the move.
"In today's meeting with the AGP's committee, we can say that we have in principle agreed for unification of regional forces to fight Congress in the state. Now, modalities for formation of the unified regional force have to be worked through proper consultation," AGP-P leader Mahanta said after the meeting.
His comment was echoed by AGP general secretary Dilip Kumar [Images] Saikia who said, "The ball has been set on roll for unification of regional parties after today's meeting with the AGP-P and two other regional groups -- TGP and PLP. The modalities for unification will be worked out in a later date."
The AGP defied the warning issued by the influential All Assam Students' Union against taking Mahanta, 'a traitor' in its unification move.
The AASU has held Mahanta responsible for failing to implement the Assam Accord clauses while he was chief minister of the state for two terms.
The students' body also tried to rake up the allegations of 'extra-judicial or secret killings' of kin of ULFA members in Assam against Mahanta during his second tenure as the chief minister.
It is not yet clear whether it would be unification or merger of all these regional forces as all the groups involved have refrained from making any comment on it.
However, it is expected that a concrete decision will be arrived at before the next Lok Sabha election.
Mahanta was expelled from the AGP, which he had founded in 1985, as the party held him solely responsible for the debacle in 2001 Assembly polls at the hands of Congress.
He was heading the AGP government as the chief minister during 1996-2001.
Meanwhile, ruling Congress has tried to put up a brave front against the unification move of the regional forces.
A Congress spokesman said the move for unification of regional forces was nothing but an effort to put 'old wine in a new bottle' and the people of the state wouldn't be impressed by it.