Alliance with BJP a decision of few AGP leaders, claims Mahanta

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HT Bureau

GUWAHATI, March 14: A day after the BJP sealed its pre-poll alliance with AGP, senior AGP leader and former chief minister Prafulla Kumar Mahanta said the decision to ally with BJP for the upcoming Lok Sabha polls is “solely the decision of a few leaders only and not the decision of the party per se”.

“Neither steering committee nor the executive committee was aware of the alliance with the saffron party. It is a decision of a few leaders,” Mahanta said addressing a press conference here on Thursday.

Mahanta said although he was a member of the nine-member committee constituted to take a call on the alliance, he was only invited once for a meeting where he opposed “tooth and nail the idea of going for an alliance with the saffron party”.

“There is no question of alliance with a party which has categorically said that it would pass the Citizenship (Amendment) Bill, 2016 if voted to power,” he said, adding that it was not a decision of the AGP as a whole.

“I appeal to all the grassroots workers of the party to raise their voice against the alliance and force the party leadership to come out from the BJP,” Mahanta said, adding that the alliance will mean “no benefit for the AGP but only losses”.

“I believe the AGP should contest the Lok Sabha polls alone in all the 14 seats. This will help strengthen the party for the 2021 assembly polls,” he remarked. The former chief minister and founder president of the AGP further said that there is a “conspiracy” being hatched against him to remove him from the party.

“Before every election, a rumour is spread through the media that Prafulla Kumar Mahanta will be appointed as Governor of any state and my wife Jayshree Goswami Mahanta will be given ticket to Lok Sabha. However, neither I nor my wife has ever aspired for any such jobs. This is done intentionally to tarnish my image,” he said.

When asked if the decision to go for an alliance with BJP will divide the regional party, Mahanta said that he only wants to strengthen the party and there is no question of dividing it.

However, Mahanta said he will not campaign in the upcoming elections.

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