Assam PCC president Bhupen Borah said the Congress does not want to weaken its organisational base further by giving space to allies
GUWAHATI: After months of speculation about which way the Congress would go for the upcoming byelections in the state, the Assam PCC announced on Monday that they would go solo in a bid to add more muscle to its grassroots base.
Shepherding the Mahajot, an alliance of opposition parties, to take on the BJP has been put on hold. Six assembly seats are heading for byelections soon and of these the Majuli seat is yet to be vacated by its incumbent legislator, Sarbananda Sonowal, who was inducted in the Union cabinet recently. There is a whisper in the corridors of power that Sonowal may resign from the state assembly today.
Assam PCC president Bhupen Borah, at a press meet here, said the Congress wants to go it alone in the 2024 Lok Sabha polls and 2026 assembly polls and does not want to weaken its organisational base further by giving space to allies.
“We have given a clear message to the grassroots workers that we want to fight the coming Lok Sabha and assembly elections alone. That’s the reason why the Congress is going solo to strengthen its base by snapping ties,” said Borah.
“Too much dependence on alliance partners has weakened the Congress in Assam. The prime example is the Bodo inhabited areas where we relied heavily on the Bodoland People’s Front,” he added.
Borah said they will have diverse strategies considering the current strength of the party. “In Majuli, the Congress lost by 48,000 votes in the last assembly election. Our strategy will be different here than in our strongholds Thowra and Mariani,” said Borah.
He said in Mariani, Thowra, Bhabanipur and Gossaigaon, the party is ready to fight the byelection alone, though in Majuli and Tamulpur it can consider the candidature of other anti-BJP parties.
Though he ruled out the possibility of an alliance with the Akhil Gogoi-led Raijor Dal, the state Congress chief said they are thinking of stitching an alliance with the Assam Jatiya Parishad. Even while the Congress was heading the Mahajot, it had been planning to take the AJP on board after the exit of AIUDF. “Congress has fixed September 27 as the last date for receiving applications from candidates. We will take the final decision about fielding candidates after assessing the strengths and capabilities of applicants,” he added.
He said the party as of now has only 27 MLAs in Assam but the Congress has an ambition to return to power. “If we go for tie-ups, the grassroots workers would get demoralised. They would not work wholeheartedly, fearing the seats may go to the allies,” he said.
Congress announced the Mahajot, an alliance of 10 parties, ahead of the 2021 assembly polls, but Assam PCC decided to dissolve the coalition recently on the grounds that it no longer serves the interests of the party. The most influential partner, AIUDF, was shown the door after it started singing a different tune in favour of CM Himanta Biswa Sarma. Their alleged ‘soft stance’ towards the Taliban in Afghanistan was also a cause of concern. Other alliance partners like CPI have announced a candidate for Thowra.