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Congress-led Grand Alliance expanded in Assam with inclusion of BPF, RJD

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The six-party opposition Grand Alliance headed by Congress in Assam was expanded on Saturday with the inclusion of Bodoland People’s Front (BPF), currently a part of the BJP-led state government, and the RJD, to further strengthen their position against the saffron party in the three-phase elections in Assam.

The Congress had earlier formed Grand Alliance with AIUDF, CPI, CPI(M), CPI(ML) and Anchalik Gana Morcha (AGM) to fight the Assembly polls against the BJP-helmed National Democratic Alliance (NDA).

On Saturday, the BPF and Lalu Prasad headed RJD, the single largest party in the Bihar assembly and which has five members in Rajya Sabha but none in Lok Sabha, joined the grouping to add to the strength of the anti-BJP grouping.

The BJP will be going to the Assam polls with allies Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) and United Peoples Party Liberal (UPPL).

BPF announced during the day that they will join the grand alliance to contest the upcoming assembly polls.

Welcoming the decision, the Congress exuded confidence that the party will come back to power again.

Likewise, RJD leader Tejashwi Prasad Yadav, who is taking crucial decisions of the party in the absence of Prasad, who is undergoing jail term in connection with multi-crore rupees fodder scam, after meeting Assam Congress chief Ripun Bora and AIUDF chief Badruddin Ajmal declared that his party will be a part of the grand alliance in Assam.

“To work for peace, unity and development the Bodoland Peoples Front (BPF) has decided to join hands with MAHAJATH in the forthcoming Assam Assembly Election,” BPF chief Hagrama Mohilary tweeted.

The BPF will no longer maintain any friendly relation or alliance with the ruling BJP, he added.

Welcoming the decision, Congress campaign committee Chairman Pradyut Bordoloi said, “The Asom Basao Ahok Yatra has had such massive impact across the state that our old friends, the Bodoland Peoples Front, could see which way the wind is blowing.

“Congress is coming and we are proud to partner with the BPF.”

The BJP has already said that it will not have any alliance with its existing ally BPF in the assembly polls.

BPF’s relation with BJP went sour during the latest elections of the Bodoland Territorial Council, where the saffron party dumped its state ally BPF and formed the council government in alliance with UPPL and GSP.

Welcoming RJD into the opposition fold, Ajmal said “he (Yadav) said he would go and campaign in all the seats where we will take him. RJD will be part of our grand alliance.”

Asked about the seat sharing and other details between the RJD and other alliance partners, Ajmal told reporters after meeting Yadav that all such points will be discussed and finalised during another round of meeting on Saturday night.

He further said that the ‘Common Minimum Programme’ (CMP) of the grand alliance is likely to be released on Sunday.

When contacted, a Congress source told PTI that the top leadership of the grand alliance is likely to address the media on Sunday afternoon.

On the poll prospects of the opposition alliance, Ajmal said,”BJP is nervous today and there is no Modi wave in the state this time. Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Home Minister Amit Shah have come so many times and said they will come here more.

“This shows that their position is shaky. They know that they will lose this time and the grand alliance will win and form the government.”

The Congress, which was in power for 15 years in Assam since 2001, has been making a determined effort to throw the BJP out of power in Assam.

Of the total 126 seats, elections to 47, mostly in Upper Assam, will be held on March 27, while 39, in Barak Valley and Central Assam will go to polls on April 1 and voting in the remaining 40 seats in Lower Assam will be held on April 6.

The RJD is eying to make a dent into the Hindi-speaking votes that traditionally have been going to the BJP’s kitty in Assam.

“There are around five per cent Hindi-speaking people in Assam who have been from Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Odisha and Chhattisgarh.

“We have a considerable number of such people in 11 seats, but we’ll contest only where chances of winning are high,” Yadav, younger son of RJD supremo Lalu Prasad, told mediapersons during the day.

RJD had earlier contested Assam polls alone but without any success.

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